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Biological father had head and neck cancer

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For sample adults aged 18 and older whose biological father ever had cancer of any kind (BFHCAN), BFHNCAN reports if the person's biological father ever had head and neck cancer.

In 2015, due to low frequencies among family members, separate variables for cancers of the esophagus, larynx-windpipe, mouth/tongue/lip, and throat-pharynx were suppressed in the the NHIS public use file to maintain respondent confidentiality. Instead, a single "head and neck" cancer variable that encompasses these types of cancers was offered. Researchers may choose to recode the component cancers variables (BFESCAN, BFLWCAN, BFMTCAN, and BFTPCAN) in 2000, 2005 and 2010 to mimic the "head and neck cancer" variables in 2015.

BFHNCAN is one of a series of related variables in the "Family History" section of the Cancer Module. This section begins with the general comment:

We would like to ask you a few questions about your family history of cancer.

According to the Field Representative's Manuals, the purpose of this and other family cancer history questions is to "determine the prevalence of cancer in families in the population" to "allow a greater understanding of how data obtained from genetics clinics can be applied to the general population." The 2010 and later Manuals provide a similar rationale, stating that the collection of these data "will allow analysts a greater understanding of how family history relates to cancer."

The Manuals for all years define "biological" relatives as people related by blood. Thus, a respondent's biological father is a father related to the respondent by blood (i.e., not a stepfather, adoptive father, foster father, or father-in-law).


There are no comparability issues.


  • 2015: Sample adults aged 18 and over whose biological father ever diagnosed with cancer.


  • 2015