Background and Aims: Although a family history of cancer (FHC) can modify the lifestyle and attitudes towards participation in cancer screening programs, studies on this relationship show mixed results and vary across populations. The objectives of the study were to compare sociodemographic characteristics, history of gastrointestinal (GI) investigations and Helicobacter pylori eradication, and modifiable cancer risk factors between those with FHC and those with no FHC (NFHC), and to investigate the association between FHC and a history of GI investigations.

Methods: A total of 3,455 questionnaires from the pilot study of the “Helicobacter pylori eradication and pepsinogen testing for prevention of gastric cancer mortality (GISTAR study)” in Latvia were analysed. We compared sociodemographic characteristics and history of GI investigations between participants with self- reported FHC and NFHC. Binary logistic regression models adjusted for socio-demographic characteristics and modifiable cancer risk factors were built for a FHC and each GI investigation.

Results: Participants with a FHC were more likely to be women, have a higher education and less likely to have harmful habits (smoking, alcohol consumption) than those with NFHC. Participants with a FHC were approximately twice as likely to report recent colorectal investigations specifically for screening, than those with NFHC. In fully adjusted logistic regression models, FHC was significantly associated with a recent history of faecal occult blood tests (FOBTs), colonoscopies, and colorectal investigations (FOBT or colonoscopy) specifically for screening as part of the national organized screening programme.

Conclusion. Our results indicate that those with a FHC have different patterns of health-related behaviour than those with NFHC.


genetic predisposition to disease, early detection of cancer, screening-psychology, health behavior, lifestyle