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December 5, 1959

Cancer in Families: A Study of the Relatives of 200 Breast Cancer Probands

JAMA. 1959;171(14):2032. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.03010320122026

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The purpose of this book was to see whether cancer occurred more frequently in the relatives of persons who had cancer than in the relatives of persons who did not and, if so, whether the difference was greater in some relationships than in others. An introductory section reviews previous research on the subject and draws valuable lessons as to methodology from the conflicting and inconclusive publications of the past. Section 2 describes the authors' methods and shows to what lengths the authors went to secure comparable groups of probands with and without cancer. The findings are summarized in 47 pages of tables and text in section 3 and lead (page 64) to the conclusion (section 4) that, if a familial tendency to develop cancer did exist, it was not strong enough to be detected in this sample of 200 breast cancer patients. A critical comparison with a previous study by

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