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For breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer, familial risks higher for fatal versus incident cancers

Thursday, January 6, 2011 (Last Updated: 01/10/2011)

THURSDAY, Jan. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Familial risks for fatal cancers appear to be at least as high as those for incident cancers for several common cancers, according to a study published online Jan. 4 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Kari Hemminki, M.D., Ph.D., of the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg, and colleagues classified individuals in the nationwide Swedish Family-Cancer Database according to family history of fatal and nonfatal cancer to search for evidence of subtypes of familial cancer associated with poorer survival, defined through cause-specific mortality.

The investigators found that hazard ratios for offspring incident cancers were somewhat higher for fatal versus nonfatal parental family history. They found that 51.0 percent of patients with familial breast cancer and 56.6 percent of patients with prostate cancer had fatal family history. In addition, hazard ratios for death in offspring, according to a fatal compared with nonfatal family history, were significantly higher for colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers. Most offspring were diagnosed after parental death.

"In conclusion, the present novel data show that for 10 common cancers, familial risks for fatal cancers were at least equally high as those for incident cancers. These data provide strong evidence for a true familial causation, even in cancers for which overdiagnosis is possible, including prostate and breast cancers," the authors write.

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Specialties Psychiatry
Neurology
Family Practice

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