Father’s Age at Daughter’s Birth May Affect Her Cancer Risk

teenage boy and girl
 
What You Need to Know: A parent’s age at birth, particularly a father’s age, may affect the adult-onset cancer risk for daughters — especially for breast cancer. Women born to a father under the age of 20 had a 35 percent greater risk of breast cancer and more than two times greater risk of ovarian cancer, when compared to those born to a father whose age at his daughter’s birth was 25 to 29 years old.
 
The Evidence: Lu and her colleagues examined a cohort of 133,479 female teachers and administrators from the California Teachers Study. Between 1995 and 2010, 5,359 women were diagnosed with breast cancer, 515 women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer and 1,110 women were diagnosed with endometrial cancer.
  • While the team of researchers did not find an association for maternal age at birth for any type of cancer, they found that paternal age is linked to an increased adult-onset cancer risk for daughters .
  • Women born to a father under the age of 20 had a 35 percent greater risk of breast cancer and more than two times greater risk of ovarian cancer, when compared to those born to a father whose age at his daughter’s birth was 25 to 29 years old.
  • Women born to a father whose age at childbirth was 30 to 34 years had a 25 percent greater risk of endometrial cancer than those born to a father age 25 to 29.

Lu and her team were not surprised to find a relationship between older fathers and an increased risk of hormone-related cancers, especially since there has been increasing evidence suggesting that daughters born to older fathers have increased risk of breast cancer, noted Lu. However, there have been no previous studies that examine the effects that young paternal age has on a daughter’s breast cancer risk or the effects of parental age on the risk of ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer.

“We observed that young paternal age, as well as advanced paternal age, increase the risk of breast cancer,” said Lu. “We also found that young paternal age increases the risk of ovarian cancer.”

My Take: We have an increasing understand of factors associated with the development of cancers, including breast cancer.   While we don’t get to choose how old our dads are when they conceive us, we are also learning about modifiable risk factors (including weight, physical activity, and others). I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.

The small print: The material presented herein is informational only, and is not designed to provide specific guidance for an individual. Please check with a valued health care provider with any questions or concerns. As for me, I am a Harvard- , Yale- and UPenn-educated radiation oncologist, and I practice in the Seattle, WA (USA) area. I feel genuinely privileged to be able to share with you. If you enjoyed today’s offering, please consider clicking the follow button at the bottom of this page.

Available now: Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Both can be found at the Apple Ibooks store. Coming Soon for iPad: Understand Breast Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minute; Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Thank you.

Reference: City of Hope. “Father’s age at birth may affect daughter’s cancer risk.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140407153810.htm>.

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understandcancerin60minutes

Harvard AB Yale MD UPenn Radiation Oncology Radiation Oncologist, Seattle area

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