, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 287-292
Date: 24 Mar 2008

Family history and colorectal cancer survival in women

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Purpose Family history of colorectal cancer may be a phenotype for numerous genetic mutations which increase colorectal cancer risk and may affect survival after diagnosis. We examined the relationship between self-reported first-degree family history of colorectal cancer and survival. Methods We identified female Wisconsin residents ages 20–74 with a new diagnosis of invasive colorectal cancer from two population-based case–control studies; 1,469 women were interviewed. Follow-up averaged 7.9 years. We performed multivariable Cox proportional hazards regressions to calculate adjusted hazard rate ratios [HR] and corresponding 95% confidence intervals [95% CI] for risk of death by family history. Results Of 1,391 cases with available first-degree family history, 481 were deceased, 268 due to colorectal cancer. In multivariable analyses, cases with any family history (N = 262) had a statistically non-significant lower risk of death (HR 0.86, 95% CI 0.62, 1.20) compared to no family history (N = 1,129). Cases with two or more affected family members (N = 46) showed significantly lower risk of death when compared to women with no family history (HR 0.34, 95% CI 0.13, 0.92). Conclusions Although individuals with a colorectal cancer family history are diagnosed with the disease more often than the general population, these data suggest that survival from colorectal cancer may not be worse.