Posts Tagged ‘familial risk’

Cancer Diagnosis Later in Live Poses Significant Risk in Offspring.

Friday, January 4th, 2013

A new study published in bmj.com (formerly the British Medical Journal) concluded that relatives of family members with cancer are still at risk of the disease even if the diagnosis occurred at an older age.  Although it is known that early onset cancer cases carry more hereditary risk than late onset cases, but little is known about whether any familial component exists in cancer at a very old age.

The study looked at data from just under 8 million offspring and their biological parents. Offspring were all between age 0 and 76 years of age and follow up was started at birth, immigration date or 1961, whichever came latest. The follow up data ended on the year of diagnosis of the first cancer, death, emigration, or 2008.  Results were adjusted by such factors as age, sex, socioeconomic status, residential area, hospitalization for obesity, COPD, and alcohol consumption.

Although the highest risk was seen in cases whose parents were diagnosed at earlier ages, even when parents were diagnosed in old age (80+) and for some cases in very old age (90+) the risk of the same cancer in offspring was significantly higher than those whose parents were not affected. Increased risks for cancer by type in offspring aged 0-76 years : non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma 1.6%; urinary bladder 2.8%; skin 3.5%; melanoma 4.6%; lung 5%; colorectal 6.4%; breast 8.8%; and prostate 30.1%.

In the study population, 35 to 81% of all familial cancers in parents occured over 69 years of age as follows: colorectal 59%; lung 56%; breast 41%; prostate 75%; urinary bladder 62%; skin cancer 81%; melanoma 35%; and non-Hodgskin’s lymphoma 54%. Thus, the majority of familial cancers occured at the older ages.  Researchers suggest offspring may benefit from knowing they are at increased risk of a particular cancer so they can avoid modifiable risk factors for the particular cancer.