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Many With Advanced Cancer Want Secondary Germline Findings Info

Attitudes toward learning influenced by patients' personal disease experience, health status

man using microscope

THURSDAY, June 22, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- More than half of patients with advanced cancer who undergo tumor genomic profiling (TGP) are interested in learning their secondary germline findings, according to a study published online June 19 in the Journal of Oncology Practice.

Jada G. Hamilton, M.D., M.P.H., from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and colleagues interviewed 40 patients with advanced breast, bladder, colorectal, or lung cancer who had undergone TGP. A thematic content analysis approach was used to evaluate qualitative interview data.

The researchers found that 57 percent of participants expressed interest in learning their secondary germline findings, while 29 and 14 percent, respectively, were equivocal or disinterested. The reasons for these preferences varied, and were influenced by perceptions of diverse benefits and harms of this information, which was thought to be pertinent to themselves and their family, as well as other patients, medical science, and society. Participants' personal disease experience and health status shaped these attitudes.

"Many patients with advanced cancer are interested in learning secondary germline findings and hold optimistic and perhaps unrealistic beliefs about the potential health benefits," the authors write. "These perceptions are necessary to address to ensure that patients make informed decisions about learning secondary germline findings."

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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