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The birth size – breast cancer connection

It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

And here is another one of those association studies that can tell your risk for breast cancer. This time it’s size at birth that predicts your susceptibility to breast cancer.

By size, they refer to the length and weight at birth, as well as the head circumference. The data came from 32 studies involving more than 600,000 women in developed countries, of whom more than 22,000 had breast cancer. The size measurements were taken from birth records. Those who were found to be at higher risk were:

  • Women with birth length of 51 cm or more.
  • Women whose head circumference was 35 cm or more.
  • Women who weighed more than 4 kg at birth.

Simply put, the longer you were as baby, the higher is your risk to have breast cancer later in life. Of the three size measurements, birth length seems to have the strongest association to breast cancer risk, followed by head circumference, and the birth weight

According to the authors, it is “the strongest evidence yet that birth size is a critical determinant of breast cancer risk in adult life.”

Now, of course it’s handy that just by looking at my birth certificate, I would know my risk for breast cancer.

Of course it would help if the study can tell us the reason behind this “birth size-breast cancer association.” Unfortunately it can’t give any explanation about the connection at the moment. Hopefully, we’ll know more in the future.


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