PSA screenings rise when there's family history of cancer

June 21, 2007

There is a strong association between family history of cancer and prostate cancer screenings, according to research from Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Bethesda, MD.

There is a strong association between family history of cancer and prostate cancer screenings, according to research from Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Bethesda, MD.

Among men in the recommended age group for screening (50 to 79 years), 39.5% of those with a family history of any cancer reported seeking PSA screening for the disease, compared with 32.2% of those without family history. Among younger men, 11.8% of those with a family history of cancer reported screening, compared with 8.6% of those with no family history.

Similar findings were seen for colorectal cancer screening.

“Family history of cancer was highly associated with colorectal and prostate cancer screening examinations in U.S. men,” wrote the authors, led by Mona Shah, MPH. “This may reflect more physicians’ recommendations and a higher motivation to get a screening test for men with a family history of cancer.”

Data were collected from male participants in the 2000 National Health Interview Survey. Age ranges and cancer screening definitions were derived from  American Cancer Society recommendations for cancer screening.

The study was published in Preventive Medicine (2007; 44:450-64).