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Disease Markers
Volume 13 (1996), Issue 1, Pages 49-55

A Method for Determining Familial Cancer Risks in Clinical Practice

R.S. Houlston and D. Ford

Section of Epidemiology, Institute of Cancer Research, Sutton, Surrey, UK

Received 8 March 1996

Copyright © 1996 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


There is interest in estimating familial cancer risks in clinical practice for counselling and determining patients’ screening requirements. Empiric methods can be used to estimate an individual’s risk, however, every family history is unique making such methods relatively nonspecific. In contrast if an underlying genetic model can be assumed the risk of disease can be calculated for any individual using his or her family history. A method of estimating familial cancer risks based on segregation models and linkage data is presented and its implementation discussed.