Cancer risk in Swedish women: the relation to size at birth

Br J Cancer. 2001 May 4;84(9):1193-8. doi: 10.1054/bjoc.2000.1738.


The relationship between fetal growth as indicated by weight and length at birth, and cancer risk in 1080 adult Swedish women was examined. Birth factors were retrieved from original midwife records for the years 1914, 1918, 1922 and 1930, and primary cancer cases were identified by matching with national and regional cancer registries through the year 1998. A positive and statistically significant increased risk for cancer was found with increasing birth weight or birth length for all site cancer and non-hormone related cancer, defined as all cancer sites excluding breast, uterus and ovary. Addition of factors suspected to influence cancer risk, maternal proteinuria, birth order, own parity and age at menarche, did not attenuate this relation. Previously only breast cancer has been reported to be related to size at birth in adult women and this is the first study to report that cancer sites other than the major hormone-related sites may be influenced by size at birth, as measured by either weight or length at birth; these findings warrant further investigation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Birth Weight*
  • Epidemiologic Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Menarche
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Parity
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sweden / epidemiology