Research Week 2022 – Jihoon Choi, MD
Title: The role of race and insurance status in access to genetic counseling and testing among high-risk breast cancer patients
Jihoon J. Choi, MD, Anne K. Buck, MS, Naomi Y. Ko, MD, MPH, AM
Purpose: The role for germline genetic testing in breast cancer patients is crucial, especially in the setting of the recent trials showing the benefit of PARP inhibitors. The goal of this study was to identify racial disparities in genetic counseling and testing in patients with high risk breast cancer.
Methods: Patients with two unique breast cancer diagnoses were examined to understand demographics, insurance coverage, characteristics of breast cancer, and whether they were recommended for and received genetic counseling and testing.
Results: A total of 69 patients with a dual diagnosis of breast cancer between the years 2000 and 2017 were identified (42% identified as White compared to 58% that identified as non-White). White patients were more likely to be recommended for genetic counseling (OR = 2.85; 95% CI 1.07 to 7.93, p <0.05), be referred for genetic counseling (OR = 3.17; 95% CI 1.19 to 8.86, p <0.05), receive counseling (OR = 3.82; 95% CI 1.42, 10.83, p <0.01), and undergo genetic testing (OR = 2.88; 95% CI 0.97 to 9.09, p = 0.056) compared to non-White patients. Patients with private insurance were significantly more likely to be recommended for genetic counseling (OR 5.63, p<0.005), referred (OR 6.11, p<0.005), receive counseling (OR 4.21, p<0.05), and undergo testing (OR 4.10, p<0.05). When controlled for insurance, there was no significant racial differences in the rates of GC recommendation, referral, counseling, or testing.
Conclusion: This study’s finding suggests that disparities in genetic counseling and testing are largely driven by differences in health insurance.