Saudi Women’s Interest in Breast Cancer Gene Testing: Possible Influence of Awareness, Perceived Risk and Sociodemographic Factors


Background: Development of effective educational strategies should accompany increases in publicawareness and the availability of genetic testing for breast cancer (BC). These educational strategies shouldbe designed to fulfill the knowledge gap while considering factors that influence women’s interest in orderto facilitate decision making.
Objective: To determine the possible correlates of Saudi women’s interest inBC genes testing including socio-demographics, the level of awareness towards BC genes, the family historyof BC and the perceived personal risk among adult Saudi women in Al Hassa, Saudi Arabia. Subjects andmethods: This cross-sectional study was carried out during the second BC community-based campaign in AlHassa, Saudi Arabia. All Saudi women aged ≥ 18 years (n=781) attending the educational components of thecampaign were invited to a personal interview. Data collection included gathering information about sociodemographics,family history of BC, the perceived personal risk for BC, awareness and attitude towardsBC genes and the women’s interest in BC genes testing.
Results: Of the included women (n=599), 19.5%perceived higher risk for BC development, significantly more among < 40 years of age, and with positivefamily history of BC before 50 years of age. The participants demonstrated a poor level of awarenessregarding the inheritance, risk, and availability of BC genetic testing. The median summated knowledgescore was 1.0 (out of 7 points) with a knowledge deficit of 87.8%. The level of knowledge showed significantdecline with age (> 40 years). Of the included women 54.7% expressed an interest in BC genetic testingfor assessing their BC risk. Multivariate regression model showed that being middle aged (Odds Ratio‘OR’=1.88, confidence intervals ‘C.I’=1.14-3.11), with higher knowledge level (OR=1.67, C.I=1.08-2.57) andperceiving higher risk for BC (OR=2.11, C.I=1.61-2.76) were the significant positive correlates for Saudiwomen interest in BC genetic testing.
Conclusion: Saudi women express high interest in genetic testingfor BC risk despite their poor awareness. This great interest may reflect the presence of inappropriateinformation regarding BC genetic testing and its role in risk analysis.