Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women in the United States and is the leading cause of cancer-related death among women worldwide. Certain demographics, such as racial/ethnic, age, and gender groups, are underrepresented in breast cancer studies. This lack of representation results in issues with creating genetic tests, as variants associated with those groups are not being detected. Furthermore, these underrepresented demographics are receiving a worse prognosis than those that are overrepresented in research. This study aimed to understand how informed the understudied racial/ethnic, gender, and age populations are regarding breast cancer and genetic testing compared to populations that have been abundantly studied, and the factors affecting the decision to receive genetic testing between gender groups. After distributing a survey to students at the University of Central Florida, the study found that females answered the knowledge-based questions more accurately than males; however, no significant differences were found between age or ethnicity groups. This is likely due to the sample consisting of university students who are more knowledgeable than the general population. The study found a negative correlation between gender and the influence of individual health concerns on receiving genetic testing and how often a breast self-exam is performed. A difference was also found between gender, age, and ethnic groups on having performed a breast self-exam. Further investigations should sample from a general population or other university populations for comparison. Also, increased education on breast cancer risks, performing a breast self-exam, and receiving genetic testing would be beneficial for early detection of breast cancer.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Hawthorne, Alicia


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Medicine


Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date