Skip to main content

Family history vital in early detection of colorectal cancer

Family history has always been important in medical diagnosis and treatment.  In the treatment of cancers, early detection can improve the chances of survival.  Now a new study published online in CANCER shows the importance of family history in the detection and prevention of colorectal cancer.

In the analysis that included information on adults diagnosed with colorectal cancer between 40 and 49 years of age, almost all patients could have been diagnosed earlier if they had been screened according to current family history–based screening guidelines. 



In many countries, colorectal cancer rates are rising in adults under 50 years of age. To identify those at risk, current guidelines recommend early screening for colorectal cancer among individuals with a family history of the disease. For example, for individuals with a first-degree relative with colorectal cancer, several medical societies recommend initiating screening at 40 years of age or 10 years prior to the age at diagnosis of the youngest relative diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

"We have an opportunity to improve early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer under age 50 if patients more consistently collect and share their family history of colorectal cancer, and healthcare providers more consistently elicit and act on family history."


To estimate the potential impact of family history–based guidelines for screening, Dr Samir Gupta, of the VA San Diego Healthcare System and the University of California San Diego, and his colleagues examined information on individuals 40 to 49 years of age—2,473 with colorectal cancer and 772 without—in the Colon Cancer Family Registry from 1998 to 2007.

The Colon Cancer Family Registry contains information and specimens contributed by more than 15,000 families around the world and across the spectrum of risk for colorectal cancer.

The investigators found that 25 per cent of individuals with colorectal cancer and 10 per cent of those without cancer met the criteria for family history–based early screening. Almost all (98.4 per cent) patients with colorectal cancer who met these criteria should have been screened at a younger age than when their cancer was diagnosed. 

Had they been screened earlier based on family history, their cancer could have been diagnosed earlier, or possibly even prevented,

The findings suggest that using family history–based criteria to identify individuals for earlier screening has promise for helping to identify individuals at risk for young-onset colorectal cancer.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ian Duncan-Smith says he wants to make those on benefits 'better people'!

By any account, the government's austerity strategy is utilitarian. It justifies its approach by the presumed potential ends. It's objective is to cut the deficit, but it has also adopted another objective which is specifically targeted. It seeks to drive people off benefits and 'back to work'.  The two together are toxic to the poorest in society. Those least able to cope are the most affected by the cuts in benefits and the loss of services. It is the coupling of these two strategic aims that make their policies ethically questionable. For, by combining the two, slashing the value of benefits to make budget savings while also changing the benefits system, the highest burden falls on a specific group, those dependent on benefits. For the greater good of the majority, a minority group, those on benefits, are being sacrificed; sacrificed on the altar of austerity. And they are being sacrificed in part so that others may be spared. Utilitarian ethics considers the ba

Mr Duncan-Smith offers a disingenuous and divisive comparison

Some time ago, actually it was a long time ago when I was in my early teens, someone close to me bought a table. It was an early flat pack variety. It came with a top and four legs. He followed the instructions to the letter screwing the legs into the top. But when he had completed it the table wobbled. One leg he explained was shorter than the other three; so he sawed a bit from each of the other legs. The table wobbled. One leg, he explained, was longer than the other three. So, he sawed a bit off. The table wobbled. He went on cutting the legs, but the table continued to wobble. Cut, cut, cut! By this time he had convinced himself there was no alternative to it.  He ended up with a very low table indeed, supported by four very stumpy legs and a bit of cardboard placed under one of them to stop it wobbling on the uneven floor.  Mr Duncan-Smith argues that we need a 1% cap on benefits to be 'fair to average earners'. Average  earners have seen their incomes rise by less tha

His way or none? Why I can't vote for Jeremy

There is an assumption that all would be well with the Labour Party if people hadn't expressed their genuine concern with what they consider the inadequacies of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership. If only, it is said, the Parliamentary Labour Party and his Shadow Cabinet had supported him, instead of undermining him, all would have been fine. If they had been quiet and towed the line, then the party would not have been in the mess it is in. So, should they have stayed silent, or speak of their concerns? There comes a point when the cost of staying silent outweighs the cost of speaking out. This is a judgment. Many call it a coup by the PLP. They paint a picture of a right-wing PLP out of touch with the membership.  This is the narrative of the Corbyn camp. But Jeremy Corbyn, over the decades he has been in politics, showed the way.  It was Jeremy Corbyn who opposed almost all Labour leaders and rarely held back from speaking out, or voting time and again against the party line. As