21 December 2012

Children of older parents with cancer may be at risk too

Children of parents diagnosed with cancer when they're old are at increased risk for certain types of cancer, a new study suggests.


Children of parents diagnosed with cancer when they're old are at increased risk for certain types of cancer, a new study suggests.

It was known that children of parents diagnosed with cancer at a younger age are at increased risk for cancer, but it wasn't clear if there also was a hereditary risk for children whose parents were diagnosed when they were older.

Researchers analysed Swedish data on nearly 8 million people and their parents. The highest cancer risk in children was among those whose parents were diagnosed with cancer at earlier ages, according to the study, which was published online in the BMJ.

The risk of the same type of cancer in children, however, was also significantly higher among those whose parents were diagnosed when they were 80 or older.

Avoid known modifiable risk factors

The increased risks in all children were: 1.6% for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, 2.8% for urinary/bladder cancer, 3.5% for skin cancer, 4.6% for melanoma skin cancer, 5% for lung cancer, 6.4% for colorectal cancer, 8.8% for breast cancer and 30.1% for prostate cancer.

The researchers also found that between 35% and 81% of all cancers in parents occurred when they were older than 69 years: 35 percent for melanoma, 41%for breast, 54% for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, 56% for lung, 59% for colorectal, 62% for urinary/bladder, 75% for prostate and 81%for skin cancer.

Non-genetic factors could not explain the increased risk of cancer among children of parents who had been diagnosed with cancer. This means that familial cancer risks are largely due to genetics, the researchers concluded in a journal news release.

Knowing that they're at increased risk for a particular cancer could help children avoid known modifiable risk factors for that cancer, according to the study authors.

Although the study found a link between older parents with cancer and higher risk in their children, it did not prove cause and effect.

Read more:

Living with cancer - emotional issues

More and more children survive cancer 

Sleeping pills may cause cancer

More information

The US National Cancer Institute has more about cancer risk factors and prevention.


(Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.) 




Get a quote


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Live healthier

Strenghten your immunity »

Keep your immunity strong Immune system boosters Boost your family's immunity

5 immune boosters in your kitchen

You don’t need a handful of vitamins and supplements to keep your body healthy, check out these five immune boosting foods you probably already have in your kitchen.

Laugh a little »

Eat yourself happy Laugh more and live longer Laughing yoga the best medicine

The healing power of laughter

A good chuckle doesn't only make you feel happy for a moment, it's beneficial to your health too.