Familial cancer in an oncology clinic

William A. Albano, Henry T. Lynch, James A. Recabaren, Claude H. Organ, James A. Mailliard, Lynn E. Black, Karen L. Follett, Jane Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Knowledge of cancer genetics provides the physician with a powerful tool for the recognition of patients who might profit from highly targeted cancer surveillance/management programs. Family history was evaluated by registered nurses on 565 consecutively ascertained patients with verified cancer from Creighton's Oncology Clinic. This initial assessment yielded 199 (35.5%) families with two more family members with cancer (all sites) within an informative nuclear component, which constituted parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles, siblings, and children. One or more of the operational criteria for cancer familiarity, namely vertical transmission of cancer, bilaterality, and/or multiple primaries, early age of onset, and three or more site specific cancers, were found on physician review in 171 (30.5%) of the families. This group was referred for comprehensive cancer genetic evaluation consisting of pedigree extension and tumor verification through all second degree, and when possible, third degree relatives. It was determined that approximately 4% of the total clinic population demonstrated findings compatible with hereditary cancer syndromes. Its universal extension in clinical practice is advocated because of the potential yield from meticulous surveillance for cancer of highly targeted organs in such high-risk kindreds, as well as the economy and general ease of obtaining detailed family history by registered nurses. The physician is able, therefore, to devote his primary effort toward pedigree analysis and syndrome identification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2113-2118
Number of pages6
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 1981

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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