PURPOSE - Younger individuals with relatives diagnosed with cancer are at greater risk for developing certain cancer when compared with older individuals with affected relatives. The purpose of this study was to calculate the age-specific proportion of individuals reporting positive family histories for colon, breast, and prostate cancer.
METHODS - Family cancer history information was reviewed on 32,374 adults interviewed for the 2000 National Health Interview Survey. Family histories were categorized as high risk, with a relative diagnosed before 50 years of age or with multiple affected relatives, or moderate risk, with a single relative diagnosed at age 50 years or older.
RESULTS - For individuals with a family history of colorectal cancer, the odds of having a high-risk pedigree decreased by 1% (95% confidence interval 0%-2%) for every year of age increase. For women reporting a family breast cancer history, the odds of reporting a pedigree with high-risk features decreased by 3% (95% confidence interval 2%-4%) for each year of age increase. Age was not associated with reporting a high-risk pedigree for prostate cancer.
CONCLUSION - For colorectal and breast cancers, younger individuals reporting a family history of these cancers were more likely to report a pedigree with high-risk features than older individuals.