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Updating family history of cancer associated with need for earlier or more intense cancer screening
Date:7/12/2011

In an analysis to examine how often throughout adulthood clinically significant changes occur in a patient's family history of cancer, researchers found substantial changes in family history of colorectal, breast, and prostate cancer between the ages of 30 and 50 years, which would result in recommendations for earlier or more intense cancer screening, according to a study in the July 13 issue of JAMA. The authors suggest that a patient's family history of cancer be updated at least every 5 to 10 years.

"One of the most effective tools to identify individuals at increased risk of cancer is to ascertain their family history. For example, having one or more close relatives with colorectal cancer increases risk from 2-fold to 6-fold. Individuals at increased risk of colorectal, breast, or prostate cancer due to family history are recommended to begin screening for these cancers earlier and in some cases using more sensitive methods than average-risk individuals," according to background information in the article. It is recommended that primary care clinicians collect a detailed family cancer history including age at diagnosis for affected first- and second-degree relatives. Little is known about how often clinically important changes in cancer family history occur over time that could change individual's risk and the need for earlier or intensive screening.

Argyrios Ziogas, Ph.D., of the University of California-Irvine, and colleagues conducted a study to quantify how often clinically significant changes in family history of breast, colorectal, or prostate cancer occur throughout adulthood. The study included an examination of baseline and follow-up family history data from participants in the Cancer Genetics Network (CGN), a U.S. national population-based cancer registry, between 1999 and 2009. Participants included adults with a personal history, family history, or both of cancer enrolled in the CGN through population-based cancer regi
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Contact: Sue McGreevey
smcgreevey@partners.org
617-724-2764
JAMA and Archives Journals
Source:Eurekalert

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