Patient reports of relatives' cancer history often not accurate
Doctors often rely on a patient's knowledge of family medical history to estimate his or her risk of cancer. However, patient reports of family cancer history are not highly accurate, according to a study appearing May 11th online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Primary care physicians routinely ask about family history and may base their recommendationsfor screening or referrals to specialists, for instanceon the results. But it is not clear how many people in the general population have accurate information on their relatives' cancer history.
To explore this issue, Phuong L. Mai, M.D., of the National Cancer Institute and colleagues examined the accuracy of patient reports of family cancer history in the Connecticut Family Health Study. The study included a survey in which a representative sample of Connecticut residents were asked about cancer diagnoses in first- and second-degree relatives. A total of 1019 respondents provided information on cancer history for 20,578 relatives. The researchers then tried to confirm cancer history for four of the most common adult malignancies - breast, colorectal, prostate, and lung cancer - for 2,605 randomly-selected relatives.
Confirmation was obtained through state cancer registries, Medicare, death certificates, other health records and databases, and interviews directly with the relatives or their proxies.
The accuracy of reported cancer diagnoses in relatives was low to moderate and varied by type of cancer: 61.1 percent for breast cancer; 27.3 percent for colorectal cancer; 32 percent for prostate cancer; and 60.2 percent or lung cancer. In contrast, reports on relatives with no cancer were highly accurate. Reports for first-degree relatives (parents, siblings, and children) were more accurate than for second-degree relatives (grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews).
The authors conclude that efforts are needed to improve the accuracy of family cancer history reporting. "Given that the population from which we sampled is similar to primary care populations, the results of this study suggest that family cancer history collected in the primary care setting might be useful as an initial screening tool, and, if positive, confirmation of the reported cancers is needed for the purpose of making cancer screening recommendations or referral to a specialty clinic."
In a related editorial, Rachel A. Freedman, M.D., and Judy E. Garber, M.D., of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston say that the study highlights the limitations of relying on patient reports of family cancer histories for risk assessment. They add that the current debate on electronic medical records and patient privacy should include this issue. And they note that on-line family history tools, such as the Surgeon General's pedigree tool, genealogy websites, and Facebook pages may contribute to more accurate reporting.
"However," they write, "if we want to be able to appropriately integrate family history into personalized clinical care, studying systematic ways to enhance family history ascertainment should be a research priority."
Provided by Journal of the National Cancer Institute
- African Americans less likely than whites to get colonoscopy despite family history of colon cancer Mar 25, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Women ignore breast cancer on dad's side Jul 27, 2006 | not rated yet | 0
- No need for gene screens in breast cancer families Jul 23, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Family history of prostate cancer does not affect some treatment outcomes Jan 02, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Genetic mutation associated with increased risk of lung cancer May 26, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
Marie Curie's leukemia
May 13, 2013 Does anyone know what might be the cause of Marie Curie's cancer
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
The use of a smartphone application significantly improves patients' preparation for a colonoscopy, according to new research presented today at Digestive Disease Week (DDW). The preparation process, which begins days in ...
Cancer 17 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW) explores new methods for managing digestive health through diet and lifestyle.
Cancer 17 hours ago | not rated yet | 1
A ground-breaking advance in colonoscopy technology signals the future of colorectal care, according to research presented today at Digestive Disease Week(DDW). Additional research focuses on optimizing the minimal withdrawal ...
Cancer May 18, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 0
(HealthDay)—Concurrent use of two immune checkpoint antibodies—ipilimumab and nivolumab—may be effective for the treatment of advanced melanoma, according to a proof-of-principal study presented in ...
Cancer May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
(HealthDay)—The risks of metastasis and death associated with cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC) are low, but significant, and risk factors for poor outcome include tumor diameter, invasion beyond ...
Cancer May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0 |
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have identified a potential new risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea: asthma. Using data from the National Institutes of Health (Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)-funded Wisconsin ...
5 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
A new study looking at sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) and markers for Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and neuroimaging adds to the growing body of research linking the two.
5 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
In their quest to learn more about the variability of cells between and within tissues, biomedical scientists have devised tools capable of simultaneously measuring dozens of characteristics of individual ...
6 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
Scientists at Johns Hopkins have turned their view of osteoarthritis (OA) inside out. Literally. Instead of seeing the painful degenerative disease as a problem primarily of the cartilage that cushions joints, ...
6 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
Gourmands and foodies everywhere have long recognized ginger as a great way to add a little peppery zing to both sweet and savory dishes; now, a study from researchers at Columbia University shows purified components of the ...
5 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
The hunt for an HIV vaccine has gobbled up $8 billion in the past decade, and the failure of the most recent efficacy trial has delivered yet another setback to 26 years of efforts.
10 hours ago | not rated yet | 0