Recall bias in subjective reports of familial cancer

Epidemiology. 1990 Jul;1(4):318-21. doi: 10.1097/00001648-199007000-00011.


Both twins in a pair in which one had suffered breast cancer (115 pairs) were asked about the occurrence of cancer among first- and second-degree relatives. For all cancer sites together, there was agreement about 129 cases; another 48 cancers were mentioned only by the case twin and another 55 only by the co-twin. For breast cancer, there was agreement about 22 events; another 12 cases were provided by the cancer twin and four by the co-twin. The odds ratio for a family history of cancer was 1.14; for breast cancer the corresponding value was 1.48. The results are suggestive of some recall bias in subjective reports on familial cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bias
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Diseases in Twins / epidemiology
  • Diseases in Twins / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Leukemia / epidemiology
  • Mental Recall*
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Myeloma / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors