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Perceived cancer risks may not reflect actual risks or prevention needs
Date:5/14/2009

ORLANDO (May 14, 2009)Working with a population of individuals at risk for gastrointestinal cancers, researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center have learned that many people misjudge their actual degree of cancer risk and, therefore, their true need for prevention support. Strategies for accurately assessing cancer risk are critical for appropriately targeting educational, counseling, and diagnostic resources to prevent cancer in as many individuals as possible, the investigators say.

The study, to be presented at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, evaluated participants in the Gastrointestinal Tumor Risk Assessment Program at Fox Chase.

With the growth in genetic cancer risk assessment in recent years, Fox Chase clinicians and scientists have seen increasing numbers of patients enrolling in the Center's risk assessment programs, including those for breast, ovarian, melanoma, prostate, and gastrointestinal cancers. Risk for gastrointestinal cancers, the focus of the current study, is established through family and personal histories of gastrointestinal cancers and/or colorectal polyps, as well as genetic testing.

"The goal of our study was to improve how we think about and direct our prevention resources," says Michael Hall, M.D., medical oncologist at Fox Chase and lead author on the study. "We examined clinical cancer prevention needs among individuals seeking gastrointestinal risk evaluation, including in our assessment their estimated personal risk, risk beliefs, and interest in genetic testing."

The study evaluated 398 individuals from 278 families enrolled in the Gastrointestinal Tumor Risk Assessment Program at Fox Chase over a nine-year period. The program provides risk assessment to people seeking evaluation for a risk of a gastrointestinal or related cancer. Participants were required to sign an informed consent and complete a health history questionnaire prior to counseling, education
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Contact: Diana Quattrone
Diana.Quattrone@fccc.edu
215-728-7784
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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