-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Feb. 4, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Oncologists need to
carefully document a new patient's family history of cancer to
assess the genetic risk, but assessing close relatives is enough,
new recommendations suggest.
Gathering information about cancer in first- and second-degree
relatives will help identify patients with an increased hereditary
risk to provide them with personalized short- and long-term
management and treatment strategies, the American Society of
Clinical Oncology said.
The new recommendations, published in the
Journal of Clinical Oncology, are a change from the current
standard of recording three generations of family history,
according to a society news release.
"After reviewing the available evidence, [the organization] concluded that reported family history is most accurate in close relatives and loses accuracy in more distant relatives," according to the news release. "On the basis of this data, a history of cancer in first- and second-degree relatives is often sufficient."
First-degree relatives include parents, children and full
siblings; second-degree relatives include grandparents, aunts and
uncles, nieces and nephews, grandchildren and half-siblings. About
10 percent of all cancers are hereditary cancers, according to the
"Genetic factors are a key component of precision medicine because they can unlock important information that can help an oncologist determine the best course of individualized treatment," society president Dr. Clifford Hudis said in the news release.
"An adequate family history is key to identifying those patients whose cancer may be associated with inherited genetic factors," he said.
The recommendations say the recording of a patient's family
history should include the relative's type of primary cancer, their
age at diagnosis, their ethnicity and whether the relative is on
the patient's mother's or father's side of the family. Patients
should also be asked about the results of any cancer genetic
testing in any relative.
"Ongoing hereditary risk assessment is part of high-quality oncology care," Hudis said. "These recommendations provide clarity, guidance and support for the oncology professional and other specialists regarding what information to collect for a cancer family history and how to interpret it."
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about
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