May 28, 2015 – Family History


Anchor lead: Family histories don’t rule when it comes to breast cancer prognosis, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Do women who’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer need to worry about what’s happened to relatives with the disease?  No, a study of several thousand women with premenopausal breast cancer published in the British Journal of Surgery concludes.  William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, describes the data.

Nelson: They looked at women who had a family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer, that was about 15-20% of the total, and asked, were the outcomes in this case, recurrence after surgery, recurrence after surgery and adjuvant hormonal or chemotherapy and radiation, were there differences in the propensity to occur after this kind of treatment, between the groups that had an identifiable family history and the groups that didn’t, and they did not find a difference at all, suggesting that breast cancer is breast cancer, regardless of whether you inherited a tendency to get it.   :32

Nelson says better, targeted treatments may help to explain the observation.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.