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Your Birth Certificate and Cancer

Posted 10/24/2016

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  Today I am writing about a fascinating (to me anyway) article from MedScape that suggests that our cancer risk can be predicted or, at least, considered based on a few facts on our birth certificates. It turns out to matter where we were born and to whom. More specifically, the birth place matters because we have learned that there are areas with higher cancer incidences than other. More interesting is the apparent fact that our parents' occupations may suggest a higher or lower cancer risk.

  At first thought, yes, if a parent worked with asbestos or radiation or smoked, we may have had exposure to possible carcinogens. More broadly, parental occupation likely suggests a number of things about socioeconomic class, income, and possible child raising habits. Someone who was raised in a solidly middle class home probably had a better diet and regular medical/dental care while someone born into poverty may not have been so lucky. Are there are things to think about? Read it and see:

On Baby-Boomer Birth Certificates: A Clue to Cancer Risks?
Nick Mulcahy

Both parental occupation at birth and the socioeconomic status (SES) of the neighborhood that a baby is born into were associated with varying risks for certain cancers later in life, according to a new study of American baby boomers.
The study is novel because, although it is somewhat established that SES in early life may play a role in cancer risk in adulthood, parental occupation on the birth certificate has never been used in cancer epidemiology.
Researchers from the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City, and Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, now report that high occupational status of the parents, as indicated on the birth certificate, is associated with increased risk for breast and prostate cancers and melanoma.
They also found that location of the family home matters.
That is, in comparison with women from high SES neighborhoods, women born in neighborhoods with low SES faced much greater risks for invasive cervical cancer.
However, in those low SES neighborhoods, men faced lower risks for prostate cancer, and both sexes had a lower risk for melanoma.
Study results were published online September 21 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

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