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HHS HealthBeat (August 19, 2011)

What’s new with the family?

Grandmother, mother, and infant
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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Family news can be important to doctors, too. Researchers say that if a patient’s close relative develops a disease that can run in families, the patient’s risk may go up, so doctors could change their recommendations for screening tests.

At Baylor College of Medicine, Sharon Plon saw this in data on close relatives of about 11,000 patients across the country. The analysis looked at colorectal, breast and prostate cancers.

Dr. Plon:

``Our hope is that physicians and patients will be more sophisticated about who needs the more intensive or earlier screening, so we can pick up cancers at an earlier age.’’  (10 seconds)

The study in the Journal of the American Medical Association was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: August 19, 2011