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Study: People misjudge their actual cancer risk

Category: Cancer Detection and Tumor Markers

Many people misjudge their actual degree of cancer risk and this can lead to poor health judgments, according to a study presented at the 2009 meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

"One of our main findings was that, prior to counseling, individuals in the low-risk group estimated the magnitude of their cancer risk as equal to that of the high-risk group," says Dr Michael Hall, medical oncologist at Fox Chase Cancer Center and lead author on the study.

The researchers worked with a population at risk for gastrointestinal cancers, and evaluated 398 individuals from 278 families over a period of nine years. After testing, and assessment, they found that 17 percent of the individuals were at high risk, 70 at moderate to high and 12 were at low-risk.

Queried on their assessment of their own risks, the patients were not very good at determining their actual risks of cancer.

"Clearly, the first step in offering clinical prevention tools to all of the individuals entering our risk assessment program is to help them to understand their actual level of risk," said Hall. "Only then can we recommend the appropriate prevention support."

Different cancers have different tumor markers and assessment tests that may be available for determining risk.ADNFCR-2248-ID-19173233-ADNFCR

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