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Childbirth May Alter Lung Cancer Risk for Women


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Below is a section of an article from Medical News Today (the portion which addresses lung cancer risk). To read the full article please go to http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medical ... wsid=56758


Women's reproductive behavior (having children or not) may increase their risk of lung cancer later in life, a study at the Harvard School of Public Health has found.

Jessica Paulus, a graduate student in epidemiology, and her colleagues studied data from 1,075 women with lung cancer and 867 cancer-free women who took part in a research study from 1992 to 2004 at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. The researchers found that women who had any children (one or more) had nearly 40 percent less risk of lung cancer as compared to women without children. That risk of lung cancer also declined in a linear fashion with increasing numbers of children born.

"Patterns of lung cancer incidence suggest that women may be at a greater risk of lung cancer as compared to men," said Paulus. "Given the role of estrogen as a risk factor in other cancers, and the relationship between number of births and estrogen levels in the body, we hypothesized that having children may be associated with lung cancer risk in women."

While the researchers found a linear relationship between lung cancer and number of children, having one child did not significantly decrease the cancer risk compared to women who never had given birth. Having two children reduced the risk of cancer by 20 percent, and having three or more children reduced that risk by 40 percent.

The protective effect of childbearing was strongest -- but not significant statistically -- in women who had never smoked as compared to current and former smokers. Also, the protective effect of childbearing on lung cancer risk was limited to cases of average age of onset, and was not observed in women diagnosed with lung cancer before age 55 years.

"Our study supports the idea of an inverse relationship between having children and the risk of lung cancer among women," Paulus said. "While smoking behavior remains the strongest risk factor for lung cancer in women, our work indicates a need to further examine the role played by reproductive factors in lung cancer."

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I knew that having never been blessed with children and never (of course) had the opportunity of breast feeding put me at greater risk for breast cancer.

I did not know it had also put me at greater risk for lung cancer! I guess it does go along with being a women putting us at greater risk of lung cancer than men. So it does make sense.

Donna G

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Since my cancer hit during my childbearing years, if I have more kids, will I be cancer free?????

I have one child and am younger than the "average age of onset" so I don't even count in THESE statistics...I'm such a non-person... Whoa is me.... :roll:

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My non-smoking grandmother had five children and still got LC. My mother had three children and still got LC. Does that mean because I don't have any children I'm really scr*wed? These studies are interesting but frankly, don't do anything to alleviate my fears!

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