A study says that doctors and patients often overlook the father's family history of breast and ovarian cancer during diagnosis.
Most women who have a history of family relatives with breast and ovarian cancer are aware of the risk and seek genetic counseling, but rarely do they look for the same symptoms in the father's family history. The study says that both men and women carry equal risk of passing on mutations of cancer genes.
Health-care providers may be "unaware that these women might have inherited the mutated gene from their father …and might not routinely collect this information from their patients," genetic counselor Jeanna McCuaig from Toronto's Princess Margaret Hospital and her co-authors in Toronto and Montreal wrote in commentary in the journal The Lancet Oncology.
The scientists found that more patients would be referred with paternal family history of breast and ovarian cancer than with maternal family history.