Increased cancer risk for individuals with a family history of prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and melanoma and their associated screening recommendations and practices

Cancer Causes Control. 2008 Feb;19(1):1-12. doi: 10.1007/s10552-007-9064-y. Epub 2007 Sep 29.


Prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and melanoma are three malignancies that appear to have strong genetic components that can confer additional risk to family members. Screening tools, albeit controversial, are widely available to potentially aide in early diagnosis. Family members are now more attuned to the risks and benefits of cancer screening, thus, it is imperative that physicians understand the screening tools and how to interpret the information they provide. We reviewed the current literature regarding the cancer risks for individuals with a family history of prostate cancer, colon cancer, and melanoma, the current screening recommendations for family members, and actual screening practices of individuals with a family history of these malignancies. This review should serve as a guide for physicians and cancer control planners when advising their patients and the public regarding screening decisions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening*
  • Melanoma / diagnosis*
  • Melanoma / epidemiology
  • Pedigree
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology