Paternal occupational data already collected as part of the Oxford Survey of Childhood Cancers have been reviewed. Information on paternal occupation was available for 14,869 children dying from cancer in England, Wales, and Scotland in the period 1953-81 and for an equal number of matched controls. The importance of fathers working, at any time before or after conception of the survey child, in any of the following occupations was assessed: radiologists (clinical), surgeons and anesthetists, veterinary surgeons, dental surgeons, nuclear industry workers, industrial radiographers. There was no indication that preconception employment in any of these occupations was more important than postconception employment with regard to the risks of all childhood cancers or all childhood leukemias. Findings were consistent with neither paternal preconception exposure to external ionizing radiation nor exposure to unsealed sources of radionuclides being an important risk factor for childhood leukemia or for the overall grouping of all childhood cancers.