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Review: breast cancer is associated with a family history of the disease in first degree relatives

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QUESTION: In women with a family history of breast cancer, how does the pattern of breast cancer in first degree relatives affect the risk of developing the disease?

Data sources

Studies were identified by searching computerised literature databases, reviewing bibliographies of review articles, and contacting experts in the field.

Study selection

Studies were selected if they were cohort or nested case control studies, included ≥100 women with incident invasive breast cancer, and information about reproductive or hormonal factors was sought on each woman.

Data extraction

Principal investigators of the included studies were contacted for data on each woman regarding whether any of her first degree female relatives (mother, sisters, or daughters) had been diagnosed with breast cancer and, if so, their age when the diagnosis was made. Data were also collected on the numbers of …

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  • Sources of funding: Imperial Cancer Research Fund and UNDP/UNFPA/WHO/ World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction.

  • For correspondence: ICRF Cancer Epidemiology Unit, Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, UK. Fax +44 (0) 1865 310 545.

  • A modified version of this abstract appears in ACP Journal Club and Evidence-Based Medicine.