A positive family history is not a significant independent risk factor for breast cancer outcome, according to a study published in the British Journal of Surgery.

The 2,850 women in the study were diagnosed from 2000 to 2008 and treated at 127 U.K. hospitals. Ramsey Cutress, B.M., B.Ch., Ph.D., an associate professor in breast surgery at the University of Southampton, and colleagues recorded tumor characteristics and asked each patient about family history. About one-third had at least one close relative with a history of breast or ovarian cancer.

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The researchers found that there were no significant differences in distant disease-free intervals for patients with versus those without a family history, either for the entire cohort or when stratified by estrogen receptor status.

The findings should reassure young women “that their cancer should be treated in the usual way, and that the family history alone will not impact on their outcome,” Cutress told HealthDay.


  1. Eccles, B. K., et al. “Family history and outcome of young patients with breast cancer in the UK (POSH study).” British Journal of Surgery. DOI: 10.1002/bjs.9816. [epub ahead of print]. May 20, 2015.