Unsolicited information letters to increase awareness of Lynch syndrome and familial colorectal cancer: reactions and attitudes

Helle Vendel Petersen, Birgitte Lidegaard Frederiksen, Charlotte Kvist Lautrup, Lars Joachim Lindberg, Steen Ladelund, Mef Nilbert

16 Citations (Scopus)


Dissemination of information on a genetically increased risk should according to guidelines primarily be family-mediated. Incomplete and incorrect information spread has, however, been documented and implies missed possibilities for prevention. In Denmark, the national HNPCC register has been granted an exception to send unsolicited letters with information on hereditary colorectal cancer and an invitation to genetic counseling to members of families with familial and hereditary colorectal cancer. To evaluate this approach, we investigated reactions and attitudes to unsolicited letters in 708 members of families with genetic predisposition and in 1600 individuals from the general population. Support for information letters was expressed by 78% of the family members and by 82% of the general population. Regarding route of information, 90% of family members preferred a letter to no information, 66% preferred information from the hospital rather than from family members and 40% preferred to obtain information from a close family member. Our results suggest that use of unsolicited information letters from the health care system may be a feasible and highly acceptable strategy to disseminate information to families at high risk of colorectal cancer.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFamilial Cancer
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)43-51
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


  • Journal Article
  • Attitudes towards unsolicited risk information
  • Dissemination of genetic information
  • Direct approach
  • Hereditary colorectal cancer
  • Reactions to risk information
  • Postal Service
  • Genetic Testing
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Male
  • Colorectal Neoplasms, Hereditary Nonpolyposis/diagnosis
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Information Dissemination/methods
  • Registries/standards
  • Genetic Counseling/organization & administration
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Attitude to Health
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Risk Factors
  • Denmark/epidemiology
  • Pilot Projects
  • Family
  • Aged
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic


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