Date of Graduation


Document Type

Thesis (MS)

Program Affiliation

Genetic Counseling

Degree Name

Masters of Science (MS)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Cathy M. Sullivan, MS, CGC

Committee Member

Kate L. Wilson, MS, CGC

Committee Member

Karen M. Schneider, MD

Committee Member

Syed Shahrukh Hashmi, MD, MPH, PhD

Committee Member

Karen Lu, MD

Committee Member

Manju Monga, MD


Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) is an inherited cancer syndrome that is associated with mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Carriers of BRCA mutations, both men and women, are at an increased risk for developing certain cancers. Carriers are most notably at an increased risk to develop breast and ovarian cancers; however an increased risk for prostate cancer, melanoma, and pancreatic cancers has also been associated with these mutations. In 2009 the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) released a practice bulletin stating that evaluating a patient’s risk for HBOC should be a routine part of obstetric and gynecologic practice.

A survey was created and completed by 83 obstetricians and gynecologists in the greater Houston, TX area. The survey consisted of four sections designed to capture demographic information, attitudes towards HBOC and BRCA testing, utilization of BRCA testing, and the overall knowledge of respondents with regards to HBOC and BRCA testing. This study found that the majority of participants indicated that they felt that obstetricians and gynecologists should have the primary responsibility of identifying patients who may be at increased risk of carrying a BRCA mutation. Moreover, this study found that the majority of participants indicated that they felt comfortable or very comfortable in identifying patients at an increased risk of carrying a BRCA mutation. However, only about a quarter of participants indicated that they order BRCA genetic testing one to two times per month or more. Lastly, this study demonstrates that the overall knowledge of HBOC and BRCA testing among this population of obstetricians and gynecologists is poor.

The results of this study stress the need for more education regarding HBOC, genetic testing, and strategies for identifying patients that may be at risk for having a mutation in a BRCA gene. Furthermore, it reiterates the importance of raising awareness to current practice guidelines and recommendations that can assist obstetricians and gynecologist to better identify and manage patients that may be at an increased risk of having HBOC.


BRCA, HBOC, knowledge, obstetricians and gynecologists, knowledge score, utilization



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