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Genet Mol Biol. 2016 Jun 3;39(2):178-83. doi: 10.1590/1678-4685-GMB-2014-0362.

Self-reported cancer family history is a useful tool for identification of individuals at risk of hereditary cancer predisposition syndrome at primary care centers in middle-income settings: a longitudinal study.

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Departamento de Enfermagem Materno-Infantil e Saúde Pública, Escola de Enfermagem de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil.
Departamento de Genética, Faculdade de Medicina Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil.


Analysis of cancer family history (CFH) offers a low-cost genetic tool to identify familial cancer predisposition. In middle-income settings, the scarcity of individual records and database-linked records hinders the assessment of self-reported CFH consistency as an indicator of familial cancer predisposition. We used self-reported CFH to identify those families at risk for hereditary cancer syndromes in community-based primary care centers of a low-income Brazilian area. We also evaluated the consistency of the information collected by reassessing CFH five years later. We interviewed 390 families and constructed their pedigrees for genetic cancer risk assessment. We found 125 families affected by cancer, 35.2% with moderate to high risk of familial susceptibility to cancer, a number that represents a relatively high prevalence of potential hereditary cancer syndromes in the overall study sample. Upon reassessment of CFH in 14/20 families that were previously identified as having at least one first-degree and one second-degree relative affected by cancer, and presented moderate to high risk for developing cancer, 90% of initial pedigrees were confirmed. These results demonstrate the reliability of self-reports as a means of early identification of healthy individuals at risk, encouraging the wider use of this method in low- and middle-income primary care settings.

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