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US Survey Data Suggests Ancestry Testing Leads Way in Awareness, Use of Genetic Testing Awareness

In the journal Genetics in Medicine, a team with the National Cancer Institute's cancer control and population sciences division takes a look at genetic testing awareness and uptake in the US. Based on Health Information National Trends Survey data from 2020, the researchers found that around three-quarters of survey participants were aware of genetic testing, though a much smaller fraction had used such testing, with ancestry testing outpacing other genetic test types in both awareness and use. Awareness and use of cancer genetic testing was more pronounced in participants with a family or personal history of cancer, respectively, they note, while genetic test awareness and use overall tended to be lower in individuals earning less than $20,000 a year and those from non-white ancestry groups. "The results of this nationally representative survey of adults showed that most respondents were aware of genetic testing (75 percent); however, only 19 percent of respondents reported of having genetic testing," the authors report, noting that the "most common type of genetic test that participants were aware of and had received was ancestry testing."