Is a Family History of the Breast Cancer Related to Women’s Cancer Prevention Behaviors?

Neilane Bertoni, Mirian Carvalho de Souza, Susanne Crocamo, Moyses Szklo, Liz Maria de Almeida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Families share behavioral risk factors that can increase the risk of cancer development. We examined whether having a positive family breast cancer history is associated with health behaviors/screening practices. Analyses were based on a cross-sectional sample of 545 Brazilian National Cancer Institute Hospital patients with newly diagnosed breast cancer in 2013/2014. Women were categorized according to their breast cancer family history. Age-adjusted Poisson regressions with robust variance were performed to estimate the association between breast cancer family history and selected health-related behaviors and screening practices. About one fourth of women reported a positive family history of breast cancer. Contrary to expectation, we found that women with a family history of breast cancer did not report healthier behaviors more often than those without a family history. However, those with a family history were more likely to report a mammographic exam prior to the mammographic diagnosis. Our study suggests that having a family history of cancer is not sufficient to change women’s behaviors about physical activity, weight control and diet, smoking, and drinking, but it seems to influence their breast cancer screening behavior. Our results suggest the need to increase women’s information and/or understanding that healthier lifestyles contribute to cancer prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-90
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 15 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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