Original Report

Reaching high-risk underserved individuals for cancer genetic counseling by video-teleconferencing


Background Breast and colorectal cancers are common cancers for which genetic risk assessment and counseling are available. However, these services are often limited to metropolitan areas and are not readily accessible to underserved populations. Moreover, ethnic and racial disparities present additional obstacles to identifying and screening high-risk individuals and have a bearing on treatment outcomes.

Objective To provide cancer genetic risk assessment and counseling through telemedicine to the remote, underserved primarily Hispanic population of the Texas-Mexico border region.

Methods Program participants were mailed a questionnaire to assess their satisfaction with the program so that we could determine the acceptability of video-teleconferencing for cancer risk assessment.

Results The overall level of satisfaction with the program was very high, demonstrating the acceptability of a cancer genetic risk assessment program that relied on telemedicine to reach and underserved minority community.

Limitations Delivery model requires the availability of and access to communication technologies; trained staff are needed at remote sites for sample collection and patient handling.

Conclusion Video-teleconferencing is an acceptable method of providing cancer risk assessment in a remote, underserved population.

Funding Supported primarily by a grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (PP120089 [GT]), NIH-NCI P30 CA54174 (CTRC at UTHSCSA); and a grant from the Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation.

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