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New Approach Helps Women Talk to Their Families About Cancer Risk

To understand their risk for hereditary forms of cancer, such as breast and colon cancer, women need to know their family history. The design and effectiveness of a 20-minute skills-based intervention that can help women better communicate with relatives and gather and share information about cancer family history is described in a study published in the Journal of Women's Health.

The article describes the Keeping Information about Family Cancer Tune-up Program (KinFact) intervention.

KinFact participants were significantly more likely to gather and share family cancer information with relatives and to communicate with them more often than were women who instead received a handout about lowering cancer risk and cancer screening. The authors found that the effectiveness of KinFact varied depending on whether women were pregnant as well as on their level of genetic literacy.

"Communication within families about cancer diagnoses and risk is difficult, and interventions like KinFact are useful to better understand patients' family health risks," says Susan G. Kornstein, MD, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Women's Health, Executive Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women's Health, Richmond, VA, and President of the Academy of Women's Health.


Journal of Women’s Health, October 16, 2014
Academy of Women’s Health (

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