Communicating Personal Melanoma Polygenic Risk Information: Participants’ Experiences of Genetic Counseling in a Community-Based Study.

Smit AK, Espinoza D, Fenton GL, Kirk J, Innes JS, McGovern M, Limb S, on behalf of the Managing Your Risk Study Group, Turbitt E, Cust AE. Journal of Personalized Medicine. 2022; 12(10):1581. 


Personalized polygenic risk information may be used to guide risk-based melanoma prevention and early detection at a population scale, but research on communicating this information is limited. This mixed-methods study aimed to assess the acceptability of a genetic counselor (GC) phone call in communicating polygenic risk information in the Melanoma Genomics Managing Your Risk randomized controlled trial. Participants (n = 509) received personalized melanoma polygenic risk information, an educational booklet on melanoma prevention, and a GC phone call, which was audio-recorded. Participants completed the Genetic Counseling Satisfaction Survey 1-month after receiving their risk information (n = 346). A subgroup took part in a qualitative interview post-study completion (n = 20). Survey data were analyzed descriptively using SPSS, and thematic analysis of the qualitative data was conducted using NVivo 12.0 software. The survey showed a high level of acceptability for the GC phone call (mean satisfaction score overall: 4.3 out of 5, standard deviation (SD): 0.6) with differences according to gender (mean score for women: 4.4, SD: 0.6 vs. men: 4.2, SD: 0.7; p = 0.005), health literacy (lower literacy: 4.1, SD: 0.8; average: 4.3, SD: 0.6; higher: 4.4, SD: 0.6: p = 0.02) and polygenic risk group (low risk: 4.5, SD: 0.5, SD: average: 4.3, SD: 0.7, high: 4.3, SD: 0.7; p = 0.03). During the GC phone calls, the discussion predominately related to the impact of past sun exposure on personal melanoma risk. Together our findings point to the importance of further exploring educational and support needs and preferences for communicating personalized melanoma risk among population subgroups, including diverse literacy levels.