Do Colorectal Cancer Patients Understand That Their Family Is at Risk?

  • David T. Rubin
  • Rishi K. Gandhi
  • Jeremy T. Hetzel
  • Sydney H. Kinnear
  • Andrew Aronsohn
  • Gordon Wood
  • Nicole Yadron
Original Article



The aim of this study was to assess whether patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) are aware of the risk to family members and to test an educational intervention.


CRC patients were surveyed regarding their cancer, family history, understanding of familial risk of CRC, and knowledge of existing screening guidelines for their relatives. An educational intervention was mailed to them and 6 months later they were resurveyed.


Of 253 CRC patients who agreed to participate, only 120 (47.4%) knew that their first-degree relatives were at increased risk for CRC. African-American (AA) race, educational background, income, and previous family history of CRC were significant predictive factors on univariate analysis, but only AA race remained significant on multivariate analysis. Two hundred two patients received the educational intervention and were resurveyed. The understanding of family risk did not improve with this intervention.


Most CRC patients do not know about their family members’ risk. Better educational tools are needed.


Colorectal cancer Family risk Patient knowledge First-degree relatives 



Funded in part by the Cancer Research Foundation Young Investigator Award, Chicago, IL.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • David T. Rubin
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rishi K. Gandhi
    • 1
  • Jeremy T. Hetzel
    • 1
  • Sydney H. Kinnear
    • 1
  • Andrew Aronsohn
    • 1
  • Gordon Wood
    • 1
  • Nicole Yadron
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of Chicago Medical CenterChicagoUSA
  2. 2.ChicagoUSA

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