Genome. 2013 Oct;56(10):626-33. doi: 10.1139/gen-2013-0070. Epub 2013 Aug 31.
Public attitudes towards genomic risk profiling as a component of routine population screening.
Nicholls SG, Wilson BJ, Craigie SM, Etchegary H, Castle D, Carroll JC, Potter BK, Lemyre L, Little J.
Sourcea Department of Epidemiology & Community Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada.
Including low penetrance genomic variants in population-based screening might enable personalization of screening intensity and follow up. The application of genomics in this way requires formal evaluation. Even if clinically beneficial, uptake would still depend on the attitudes of target populations. We developed a deliberative workshop on two hypothetical applications (in colorectal cancer and newborn screening) in which we applied stepped, neutrally-framed, information sets. Data were collected using nonparticipant observation, free-text comments by individual participants, and a structured survey. Qualitative data were transcribed and analyzed using thematic content analysis. Eight workshops were conducted with 170 individuals (120 colorectal cancer screening and 50 newborn screening for type 1 diabetes). The use of information sets promoted informed deliberation. In both contexts, attitudes appeared to be heavily informed by assessments of the likely validity of the test results and its personal and health care utility. Perceived benefits included the potential for early intervention, prevention, and closer monitoring while concerns related to costs, education needs regarding the probabilistic nature of risk, the potential for worry, and control of access to personal genomic information. Differences between the colorectal cancer and newborn screening groups appeared to reflect different assessments of potential personal utility, particularly regarding prevention.
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