Changes in Family Cancer History Impact Screening Needs

Clinically relevant family history changes between ages 30 and 50 affect screening recommendations

TUESDAY, July 12 (HealthDay News) -- Clinically relevant family history changes over time, specifically between the ages of 30 and 50 years, impact screening recommendations for colorectal, breast, and prostate cancer, according to a study published in the July 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Argyrios Ziogas, Ph.D., from the University of California-Irvine, and colleagues evaluated how often changes in family history of cancer result in different recommendations for earlier or more intense screening throughout adulthood. Data from participants in the Cancer Genetics Network (CGN) between 1999 and 2009 with either or both a personal or family history of colorectal, breast, or prostate cancer were examined at baseline and at a median follow-up of eight years. The main outcome measure was the percentage of individuals with clinically significant family histories and the rate of change both retrospectively (from birth until CGN enrollment) and prospectively (from enrollment to the last follow-up).

The investigators found that the percentages of participants who retrospectively met criteria for high-risk screening based on family history at ages 30 and 50 years were: 2.1 and 7.1 percent, respectively, for colorectal cancer; 7.2 and 11.4 percent, respectively, for breast cancer; and 0.9 and 2.0 percent, respectively, for prostate cancer. Based on the prospective analysis, two, six, and eight individuals newly met criteria for high-risk screening based on family history per 100-years follow-up for 20 years for colorectal, breast, and prostate cancer, respectively.

"Clinically relevant family history of colorectal, breast, and prostate cancer that would result in recommendations for earlier or intense cancer screening increases between ages 30 and 50 years," the authors write.

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