Family member cancer prevalence reported by university students taking a cancer prevention course

K. M. Rourke, J. P. Minton, Moon S Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Genealogical health histories were studied to determine the prevalence of family cancer in students taking an Ohio State University (OSU) cancer prevention/education class. One hundred twenty students enrolled in the spring 1987 Health Education class, 'How to Avoid Dying from Cancer...Now and Later' reported a positive family cancer history. Survey forms indicating a cancer history were selected for use in this study. Cancer incidence and total cancer deaths were calculated for male and female populations. Male cancer incidence reported for fathers was 12%, paternal grandfathers 27%, and maternal grandfathers 25%. Female cancer incidence rates were lower than those reported in the male population. Cancer occurrences include 16%, 11%, and 21% for mother, paternal grandmother, and maternal grandmother, respectively. In the study population, male (33%) and female (28%) cancer mortalities were reported as the leading cause of death. Frequent occurrences of skin and gastrointestinal cancer in males and breast cancer in females were noted. Family experiences with cancer are believed to stimulate student enrollment in OSU's cancer prevention program. Class promotion and design will be restructured to reflect the significance of a family cancer history. We believe this will provide a more effective means of generating the student's motivation to adopt cancer prevention activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-189
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Cancer Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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