The FAST study was funded by a NIHR Research for Patient Benefit grant. The study finished in Autumn 2011 and we are currently completing the analyses and writing papers for publications a in order to disseminate the findings.
The study developed and validated a short questionnaire screening tool based on family history to identify groups of primary care patients at risk of four chronic diseases: heart disease, type 2 diabetes, breast and colorectal cancer. These conditions were selected as marker conditions as they fulfilled screening criteria, and effective interventions and lifestyle strategies exist for their primary and secondary prevention.
We found that the questionnaire screening tool performed well, and accurately identified people who were at increased risk of developing one of the four marker conditions. Using psychological questionnaires and qualitative interviews we found that completing the screening questionnaire and being informed of personal risk levels did not significantly increase anxiety or distress.
We are now developing research proposals which will enable us to test the screening questionnaire in different primary care populations and using different administration methods.