Research Article| Volume 153, ISSUE 1, P100-107, April 2019

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A patient-centered mobile health application to motivate use of genetic counseling among women with ovarian cancer: A pilot randomized controlled trial

Published:February 01, 2019DOI:


      • Women randomized to the intervention had greater knowledge of hereditary cancer and genetic counseling.
      • Women receiving the intervention were more likely to talk with their family about genetic counseling.
      • Women demonstrated greater self-efficacy in making a genetic counseling appointment.
      • Participants in both the intervention and control groups reported high utilization of genetic counseling services.



      Despite current guidelines recommending women with ovarian cancer receive genetic risk evaluation by a genetic counselor, utilization has historically been low. We sought to assess the feasibility and effectiveness of a week-long mobile Application for Genetic Information on Cancer (mAGIC) intervention aimed to persuade women with ovarian cancer to pursue genetic counseling.


      The mobile application intervention was based on the Fogg Behavior Model, and consisted of three parts: (1) identifying barriers, (2) developing motivators, and (3) providing triggers to action. The Health Belief Model was used to guide content development. We conducted a prospective, randomized, controlled pilot trial among 104 untested women with a history of epithelial ovarian, primary peritoneal or fallopian tube cancer with the primary objective of increasing uptake of cancer genetic counseling services.


      Utilization of cancer genetic counseling services improved in both study arms over historical controls, however there was no statistically significant difference between them (intervention: 54.5% versus control: 38.6%; p = 0.14). However, compared to controls, women randomized to the mAGIC intervention demonstrated greater knowledge of hereditary cancer (0–10 scale; 9.4 ± 1.0 vs. 7.1 ± 1.5; p < 0.0001), which persisted for at least three months. Additionally, 96% of women in the intervention group reported they had talked with their family about genetic counseling compared to 77% in the control group (p = 0.01).


      The mAGIC intervention did not result in increased uptake of genetic counseling, however it provided significant secondary benefits, including increased participants' knowledge about hereditary ovarian cancer, self-efficacy, and their reported communication with family members. Identifier: NCT02877862


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