Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Study Links Family History of Prostate Cancer to Breast Cancer Risk


Doctors should ask about medical history of first-degree male relatives, researchers say

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Kathleen Doheny

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, March 9, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- A family history of prostate cancer may be tied to a woman's risk of breast cancer, a new study suggests.

Women whose father, brother or son have had prostate cancer may have a 14 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer, said Jennifer Beebe-Dimmer, a researcher at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Those women with a family history of both prostate and breast cancer were at a 78 percent greater risk of developing breast cancer, the researchers found. And the risk was greater for black women than whites.

The researchers found a link, not a direct cause-and-effect relationship, between family history of prostate cancer and women's breast cancer risk. However, this is "one of the largest studies, if not the largest study, to examine the association," Beebe-Dimmer said.

The 14 percent increase "is a modest increase in risk," she said. Of the two, "breast cancer family history is likely still more important in terms of risk assessment," she added.

The findings underscore the need for women to know their complete family medical history, "particularly cancer diagnosed among first-degree relatives," including fathers, brothers and sons, Beebe-Dimmer said.

Doctors should ask about all cancers in the family, even in members of the opposite sex, she suggested.

"Communication of this information to the physician is important in assessing future risk of breast cancer and may impact screening recommendations," Beebe-Dimmer said.

For the study, published online March 9 in the journal Cancer, Beebe-Dimmer's team evaluated more than 78,000 women enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study between 1993 and 1998. At the study start, all were free of breast cancer. When follow-up ended in 2009, more than 3,500 breast cancer cases had been diagnosed. The researchers looked to see which patients' family members had either breast or prostate cancer.

Cancers of the breast and prostate are among the most common invasive cancers found in the United States, Beebe-Dimmer said. In 2014, an estimated 233,000 new breast cancer cases and 233,000 new prostate cancer cases were diagnosed in the United States, according to background information in the study.

source : Study Links Family History of Prostate Cancer to Breast Cancer Risk

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