Study links childhood factors and b. c.

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A LANDMARK global study of more than 40,000 people over 40 years aims to identify environmental and lifestyle factors in childhood and adolescence which may play a role in the development of adult cancers, including pre-menopausal breast cancer.

Members of the International Childhood Cancer Cohort (i3C) Consortium are analysing data from the United States, Australia and Finland on participants who were enrolled in the study as children and followed up as middle-aged adults. The insights generated could support more targeted cancer screening programmes and stronger public health prevention efforts, and help to reduce the burden of breast cancer in future.

Led by Professor Terry Dwyer, Executive Director of The George Institute for Global Health at the University of Oxford, i3C researchers are examining the childhood data from all participants and linking it to the occurrence of cancer in adulthood in order to assess the role played by environmental and lifestyle factors in early life. This kind of analysis has not been possible before now, because little information collected in childhood has been available.

Researchers will look for associations between physical inactivity, alcohol consumption and poor diet in early life and the occurrence of breast cancer as an adult, and will assess the future impact of greater height and higher measures of body fat in children. By examining cell tissue collected from participants when they were children, researchers will also be able to assess the role sex and growth hormones play, and even identify ‘pre-disease biomarkers’ that could help to signal cancer risk.

To make a donation, please contact Louise Angelou, Head of Development, Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and The George Institute for Global Health, University of Oxford, louise.angelou@obs-gyn.ox.ac.uk.

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Pink Ribbon is the growing international network of doctors, researchers, charities and other campaigners, interested in bringing forward the date where breast cancer-related deaths are a thing of the past. It focuses on events and information provision, including website bulletins, conferences and awards (being planned for 2018). It is led by publisher Gerard Dugdill.

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