Entries in Medical History (3)


Family Cancer History Should Be Updated Regularly, Study Finds

Comstock/Thinkstock(IRVINE, Calif.) -- A family history of cancer is one of the most important factors for assessing an individual’s own cancer risk.  But when should that history be taken, or how frequently?  

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association identifies periods in life when family cancer history is most likely to change -- and in turn change an individual's own cancer risk -- calling for earlier or more intensive screening.

Researchers at the University of California-Irvine reviewed family data from over 15,000 participants in a U.S. national registry for cancer patients from 1999 to 2009.

They found substantial changes in family history of colorectal, breast and prostate cancers between the ages of 30 and 50.  So the percentage of those recommended for high-risk cancer screening increases from one-and-a-half to three-fold during that age bracket.   

The authors recommend that a family cancer history should therefore be updated at least every five to 10 years to appropriately inform recommendations for cancer screening.

Copyright 2011 ABC  News Radio


Mother's Stroke History Points to Daughter's Risk of Heart Attack

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(DALLAS) - A mother's history of stroke could help determine her daughter's risk of having a heart attack, according to researchers at the University of Oxford.

The study, published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics, examined approximately 2,200 female patients and how their mother's history of stroke affected their risk of both stroke and heart attack, compared to those whose father had suffered a stroke.

"Our study results point towards sex-specific heritability of vascular disease across different arterial territories — namely coronary and cerebral artery territories," said study leader Amitava Banerjee.

The study was the first of its kind to focus on both the sex of the patient and the sex of the relative in determining risk of such diseases. The researchers say it is important to evaluate gender-specific risk factors related to women and heart attacks because women are more likely to die from suffering a heart attack than men.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Gene Screening vs. Family History: Which Wins?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CLEVELAND) -- The widely held belief that you can always rely on family may be especially true when it comes to your risk for certain diseases, new research shows.

Researchers led by Dr. Charis Eng, chairman and founding director of the Genomic Medicine Institute of the Cleveland Clinic, found that a thorough family history better predicted the risk for developing certain cancers than genomic screening did.

Eng and her colleagues assessed 44 people's risk for developing breast cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer by obtaining a complete family health history and also by using a direct-to-consumer personal genomic screening tool. They presented their findings at the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics.

A comparison between the two methods showed they did not often place people in the same risk category for the three kinds of cancer. Researchers also found that personal genomic screening did not identify nine people who were found to be at high risk for colon cancer because of a previous family history.

In addition to helping assess disease risk, doctors say knowing a patient's family history can help offer insight into how someone will respond to certain treatments.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio