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Am J Epidemiol. 2003 May 1;157(9):792-9.

Reported family history of cancer in the prostate, lung, colorectal, and ovarian cancer screening trial.

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Division of Cancer Prevention, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


The authors analyzed data from almost 150,000 subjects aged 55-74 years enrolled in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial who completed a self-administered baseline questionnaire (1993-2001) that included items about family history of cancer. Male respondents reported significantly less family history of cancer than females. The relative underreporting by male respondents relative to females was greater for female family members (28% lower for sisters and 21% lower for mothers) than for male family members (13% lower for brothers and 9% lower for fathers). Black, Hispanic, and Asian respondents reported significantly less family history of cancer than Whites. Reported family history prevalences for parents decreased with respondents' age, while those for siblings increased with respondents' age. The four most commonly reported cancers in families were breast (11.8%), lung (10.1%), colorectal (9.4%), and prostate (7.3%) cancer. Expected prevalences in family members of history of cancer overall and history of specific types of cancer were calculated using incidence rates and life table data obtained from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program. Overall, the ratio of reported cancer rates to expected cancer rates in family members was approximately 0.7. Liver, bone, stomach, and brain cancer had greater-than-average reported:expected ratios, while lymphoma, bladder cancer, melanoma, and testicular cancer had lower-than-average ratios.

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