Family members of people diagnosed with cancer are at risk of developing the disease, even if the diagnosis occurred at an older age, suggests a study published Thursday in British Medical Journal. However, this risk is even greater in the case of relatives whose parents were diagnosed at younger ages.
It is known that the first cases of cancer have an increased risk of developing hereditary departing late-onset cases, but little is known about whether there is familial component in cancer at a very advanced age, the authors of the research, researchers the ‘German Cancer Research Centre’ and the University of Lund, Sweden
The scientists analyzed the database of Swedish families, about eight million and their biological parents. The results, which were adjusted by several factors, including age, sex, socioeconomic status, residential area, hospitalization for obesity, COPD and alcohol, show an increased risk in cases whose parents were diagnosed at younger ages.
However, even when parents were affected by a tumor in the elderly (over 80 years) and for some types of cancer in very old (over 90 years), the risk that their offspring suffer the same cancer was significantly greater than in the case of those whose parents were not affected.
The increased risks for each cancer was in children aged 0-76 years, 1.6 percent in non-Hodgkin lymphoma, 2.8 percent in urinary bladder, skin 3.5 percent, 4.6 percent in melanoma, lung 5 percent, 6.4 percent in colorectal cancer, 8.8 percent in breast cancer and prostate 30.1 percent.
In the study population, between 35 and 81 percent of all cancers parent families occurred at ages over 69 years: colon cancer, 62 percent, of skin, 59 percent; lung , 56 percent; breast 41 percent, Prostate, 75 percent; bladder, 81 percent; melanoma, 35 percent, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, 54 percent. Therefore, most familial cancers occur at older ages.
Attempts to explain the familial risk for non-genetic factors were not convincing, so the researchers concluded that family risks are largely genetic basis. Scientists believe that the family members (especially children) can benefit from knowing that they are at increased risk for a particular cancer, allowing them to avoid known modifiable risk factors to prevent cancer.