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Using Family History to Assess Women's Cancer Risk in a Parish Nurse Setting
Nurs Health Sci. 2006 Jun;8(2) :129
AbstractThis health promotion project fulfillled required field study in a graduate public health nursing program. Family history, an important risk factor for many chronic diseases including cancer, is gaining importance as a public health tool. The author used cancer risk assessment expertise to assess women's cancer risk based on family history in two parish settings. Women completed cancer family history using the U.S. Surgeon General's Family Health Portrait. They received pedigree, tailored risk communication and educational materials for cancer prevention/detection. Of 23 women, the majority reported intention to: (i) change behavior to reduce risk; (ii) change screening practice; and (iii) share family history with healthcare providers. One woman at high risk sought formal genetic counseling. Risk information was based on family history only, although multiple factors affect risk. Women's intention to change behavior may not lead to actual change. Population was homogeneous and well educated so results may not be generalizable to other populations. Even though most parish nurses would not have expertise in cancer risk assessment, they can advocate use of the Family Health Portrait. Women respond positively to personalized risk feedback presented in the context of their faith communities. The project facilitated genomic understanding within a public health setting.