Circumstances of birth and environment play significant role in risk of certain cancers

Emobileclinic Researchers Corner 


The Journal of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention has published the findings of researchers who found that circumstances of birth and early childhood such as parental occupation at birth and neighborhood income, may be linked to varying risks of certain cancers later in life.


The researchers after analyzing cancer risk and socioeconomic status (SES) of Baby Boomers born between 1945 and 1959 discovered that melanoma cancer is prevalent among babies born to parents with high occupational status together with high risk of prostate cancer for male and breast cancer for female.

Furthermore, the study revealed that there is higher risk of cervical cancer in female for those born in neighborhoods with low socioeconomic status in relation to those from high status neighborhoods. At the same time, those born in low SES neighborhoods, men faced lower risks of prostate cancer, and generally, the risk of melanoma was lower in both male and female.

The researchers utilized the Utah Population Database (UPDB), a special computerized research resource that have records from several sources including genealogies, Utah birth and death certificates, hospitalization records, and driver’s license data, to review and evaluate cancer incidence of the study group.

According to Ken Smith, “this study shows that early-life socioeconomic status, based on factors such as parental occupation at birth, may be associated with cancer risk in adulthood. Using this information, we may be able to identify individuals who are at higher risk for cancer due to socioeconomic status at birth, and ideally, work to find strategies to help them manage their cancer risk in adulthood.”

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The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program, the Utah Department of Health and the University of Utah, the National Cancer Institute and the Huntsman Cancer Foundation.




Ken R.Smith, (2016): Baby Boomers and Birth Certificates: Early Life Socioeconomic Status and Cancer Risk in Adulthood. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention, doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-16-0371

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