PHILADELPHIA, May 26 (UPI) -- Many people misjudge their actual degree of cancer risk and as a result their true need for prevention, U.S. researchers said.
The research study evaluated 398 individuals from 278 families enrolled over nine years in the Gastrointestinal Tumor Risk Assessment Program at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.
"The goal of our study was to improve how we think about and direct our prevention resources," lead author Michael Hall said in a statement. "We examined clinical cancer prevention needs among individuals seeking gastrointestinal risk evaluation, including in our assessment their estimated personal risk, risk beliefs and interest in genetic testing."
Results showed that more than 17 percent of the individuals were at high-risk; 70 percent were at moderate-to-high risk; and 12 percent were at low-risk.
"One of our main findings was that, prior to counseling, individuals in the low-risk group estimated the magnitude of their cancer risk as equal to that of the high-risk group," Hall said.
"Clearly, the first step in offering clinical prevention tools to all of the individuals entering our risk assessment program is to help them to understand their actual level of risk. Only then can we recommend the appropriate prevention support."
The study is scheduled to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Orlando, Fla.