The researchers found that retrospective analysis indicated that the percentages of participants who met criteria for high-risk screening based on family history at ages 30 and 50 years, respectively, were as follows: for colorectal cancer, 2.1 percent and 7.1 percent; for breast cancer, 7.2 percent and 11.4 percent; and for prostate cancer, 0.9 percent and 2.0 percent. "In prospective analysis, the numbers of participants who newly met criteria for high-risk screening based on family history per 100 persons followed up for 20 years were 2 for colorectal cancer, 6 for breast cancer, and 8 for prostate cancer. The rate of change in cancer family history was similar for colorectal and breast cancer between the 2 analyses," the authors write.
"Both analyses demonstrate that clinically relevant family history changes substantially during early and middle adulthood, particularly for colorectal and breast cancer, for which the percentage recommended for high-risk screening increases 1.5- to 3-fold between ages 30 and 50 years."
The researchers recommend that family cancer history should be updated at least every 5 to 10 years to appropriately inform recommendations for cancer screening.
(JAMA. 2011;306172-178. Available pre-embargo to the media at www.jamamedia.org)
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