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Variables Related to Human Breast Cancer

Variables Related to Human Breast Cancer

Copyright Date: 1958
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    Variables Related to Human Breast Cancer
    Book Description:

    Variables Related to Human Breast Cancer was first published in 1958. The question of what role, if any, heredity plays in the etiology of human cancer is of obvious importance in the continuing search for an answer to the riddle of cancer. This book describes a study which was conducted at the Dight Institute for Human Genetics of the University of Minnesota, seeking evidence on two aspects of the heredity question. The objectives were, first, to determine whether there is an increased frequency of cancer among relatives of breast cancer patients (over what would be expected by coincidence) and second, to find out whether any family tendency to cancer is general or site-specific. The families of 621 breast cancer patients treated at the Tumor Clinic of the University of Minnesota Hospitals were investigated, with special attention to the choice of original patients and to the completeness of information. For comparison the authors studied the families of husbands of the patients and also analyzed statistics on cancer cases and deaths in the general population. The methods used in the project are described in detail, the data are presented, and the results interpreted. The findings are of value not only in their scientific application but also for use in counseling relatives of breast cancer patients, since these relatives often have greater fear of developing cancer than the facts warrant.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6117-6
    Subjects: Health Sciences

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-2)
  3. 1 The Problem
    (pp. 3-17)

    “Do the relatives of breast cancer patients have an increased risk of developing cancer?” One might presume that this straightforward question would be relatively easy to answer. However, it has turned out to be extremely difficult to collect the kind of information needed for an adequate answer.

    There are several reasons why the study of family histories with respect to cancer is difficult. Since most cancers develop at a relatively late age, many members of the family die before any susceptibility could be expressed. In addition, the information about earlier generations is frequently poor. As the study of this problem...

  4. 2 The Propositae
    (pp. 18-40)

    It would be desirable to have a group of propositae which is a representative sample of the population of breast cancer patients with respect to every factor which might be significantly related to the biology of breast cancer. For a number of reasons this would be very difficult to achieve.

    Actually every set of propositae is a selected group. A group described as unselected is most likely one in which the factors influencing selection are unknown. Furthermore, some of the factors that entered into the selection may be significantly related to the question to be resolved. If the propositae were...

  5. 3 The Control Group
    (pp. 41-51)

    The most difficult problem in genetical studies of human cancer has probably been the choice of an adequate control group. Jacobsen (1946) concluded his review of literature with the statement: “Since all the studies of these questions hitherto have been more or less vitiated by flaws in the materials, especially in the control materials, which makes the figures arrived at unsuitable for statistical treatment … it is necessary, before one adopts the negative view that genetic research on human cancer is futile, to make a separate, systematic investigation of every form of cancer, with special attention to the control material...

  6. 4 Information about Relatives
    (pp. 52-62)

    The value of a study such as this depends to a large extent upon the validity of the information on which it is based. Careful attention must be given to the kinds of questions asked and the manner in which the information is obtained. Since the accuracy of the answers will vary, there is the additional need for verification. Because it is seldom possible to get complete information, the effect of such incompleteness should be ascertained. The following sections will discuss these problems.

    Most of the primary information in the present study was obtained through interviews and correspondence with the...

  7. 5 Cancer in Relatives
    (pp. 63-94)

    Our central problem was to compare the incidence of cancer in the relatives of the propositae with that in the control group. It had appeared that some of the differences in the conclusions reached by previous studies resulted from differences in the methods of analysis used. Therefore we planned to use a number of methods in analyzing the single set of data provided by the present study. We hoped that this multiple approach would provide an internal check on the conclusions reached and also a test of the validity of each of the methods.

    It must be emphasized that this...

  8. 6 A Second Set of Propositae
    (pp. 95-103)

    The data presented up to this point have been most detailed concerning the sisters of breast cancer patients. However, the persons most concerned about the risk of breast cancer are usually the daughters of breast cancer patients. The purposes of this chapter are to explore the problem of breast cancer in daughters and to describe an attempt to determine that risk.

    Morse (1951) assumed that if mothers of breast cancer patients have two to three times the expected number of breast cancers, the daughters of patients would also show a similar increase in risk. This assumption was only an inference...

  9. 7 An Interpretation of Results
    (pp. 104-118)

    This study was designed primarily to answer the question, “Do relatives of breast cancer patients have an increased risk of developing cancer?” A resumé of the source, validity, and analysis of the data is presented here as a basis for the interpretation of the results.

    The propositae. The 544 propositae were women who were examined at the Tumor Clinic of the University of Minnesota Hospitals and who had a microscopic diagnosis of breast carcinoma or who (in 17 cases) had clinically diagnosed inoperable breast cancer. That the group of propositae was not a representative sample of breast cancer patients in...

    (pp. 121-165)
    (pp. 166-169)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 170-172)