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AACR: Childbearing Linked to Lower Lung Cancer Risk

Having three or more children associated with 40 percent risk reduction

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Bearing two children is associated with a 20 percent decrease in the risk of lung cancer, and having three or more is associated with a 40 percent reduction, according to research presented at the American Association for Cancer Research's Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research meeting in Boston.

Jessica Paulus, a graduate student at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues evaluated 1992-2004 research study data of 1,942 women, 1,075 of whom had lung cancer.

Having two children was associated with a 20 percent lower risk of cancer, having three or more children was linked to a 40 percent lower risk, but having only one child did not significantly lower the cancer risk compared to nulliparous women. Although not significant, the protective effect of childbearing was greatest in those who never smoked compared to current and ex-smokers. There was no protective effect in women who had pulmonary cancer before 55 years of age.

"Our study supports the idea of an inverse relationship between having children and the risk of lung cancer among women. While smoking behavior remains the strongest risk factor for lung cancer in women, our work indicates a need to further examine the role played by reproductive factors in lung cancer," Paulus said.

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