Only close family history needed for cancer risk assessment

February 4, 2014
Only close family history needed for cancer risk assessment
Oncology group releases new recommendations focused on two generations, not three, for determining genetic risk factors in new patients.

(HealthDay)—Oncologists need to carefully document a new patient's family history of cancer to assess the genetic risk, but assessing close relatives is enough, new recommendations suggest.

Gathering information about cancer in first- and second-degree relatives will help identify patients with an increased hereditary risk to provide them with personalized short- and long-term management and treatment strategies, the American Society of Clinical Oncology said.

The new recommendations, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, are a change from the current standard of recording three generations of , according to a society news release.

"After reviewing the available evidence, [the organization] concluded that reported family history is most accurate in close relatives and loses accuracy in more distant relatives," according to the news release. "On the basis of this data, a history of cancer in first- and second-degree relatives is often sufficient."

First-degree relatives include parents, children and full siblings; second-degree relatives include grandparents, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, grandchildren and half-siblings. About 10 percent of all cancers are hereditary cancers, according to the news release.

"Genetic factors are a key component of precision medicine because they can unlock important information that can help an oncologist determine the best course of individualized treatment," society president Dr. Clifford Hudis said in the news release.

"An adequate family history is key to identifying those patients whose cancer may be associated with inherited ," he said.

The recommendations say the recording of a patient's family history should include the relative's type of primary cancer, their age at diagnosis, their ethnicity and whether the relative is on the patient's mother's or father's side of the family. Patients should also be asked about the results of any cancer genetic testing in any relative.

"Ongoing hereditary risk assessment is part of high-quality oncology care," Hudis said. "These recommendations provide clarity, guidance and support for the oncology professional and other specialists regarding what information to collect for a family history and how to interpret it."

Explore further: Colon cancer screening guidelines may miss 10 percent of colon cancers

More information: The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about cancer.

Statement (subscription or payment may be required)
Abstract - Wood
Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

Related Stories

Colon cancer screening guidelines may miss 10 percent of colon cancers

October 22, 2013
For people with a family history of adenomas (colon polyps that lead to colon cancer), up to 10 percent of colorectal cancers could be missed when current national screening guidelines are followed. Colorectal cancer is the ...

Patient reports of relatives' cancer history often not accurate

May 11, 2011
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 ...

Family members of children with cancer may also be at risk

August 7, 2013
When a child is diagnosed with cancer, one of the first questions the parents ask is "Will my other children get cancer?" A new study from Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah suggests the answer to that ...

One in five women don't believe their breast cancer risk

August 15, 2013
Despite taking a tailored risk assessment tool that factors in family history and personal habits, nearly 20 percent of women did not believe their breast cancer risk, according to a new study from the University of Michigan ...

Study shows families don't understand genetic test results or their implications

December 12, 2013
A study done by researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center shows that many relatives of patients who undergo testing for a gene linked to breast and ovarian cancers misinterpret the results, and less than half of those who could ...

Large study reveals increased cancer risks associated with family history of the disease

July 24, 2013
A family history of cancer increases the risk of other members of the family developing not only the same cancer (known as a concordant cancer) but also a different (discordant) cancer, according to a large study of 23,000 ...

Recommended for you

Single blood test screens for eight cancer types

January 18, 2018
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers developed a single blood test that screens for eight common cancer types and helps identify the location of the cancer.

The pill lowers ovarian cancer risk, even for smokers

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—It's known that use of the birth control pill is tied to lower odds for ovarian cancer, but new research shows the benefit extends to smokers or women who are obese.

Researchers find a way to 'starve' cancer

January 18, 2018
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to starve a tumor and stop its growth with a newly discovered small compound that blocks uptake of the vital ...

These foods may up your odds for colon cancer

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—Chowing down on red meat, white bread and sugar-laden drinks might increase your long-term risk of colon cancer, a new study suggests.

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

January 18, 2018
Cancer metastasis, the migration of cells from a primary tumor to form distant tumors in the body, can be triggered by a chronic leakage of DNA within tumor cells, according to a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial ...

Modular gene enhancer promotes leukemia and regulates effectiveness of chemotherapy

January 18, 2018
Every day, billions of new blood cells are generated in the bone marrow. The gene Myc is known to play an important role in this process, and is also known to play a role in cancer. Scientists from the German Cancer Research ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

LynchCancers
not rated yet Feb 06, 2014
We applaud the oncological community for emphasizing the need to take a family history, assess it and then commit to perform diagnostic genetic testing upon the individual to determine if a hereditary condition exists. One diagnosis can lead to the diagnosis of five other members of a family and save lives. We are very grateful for their stance in protecting families and saving lives of those with hereditary cancer conditions. www.lynchcancers.org

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.