Big­ger fam­ily, lower risk of can­cer?

The Borneo Post - Nature and health - - Vital Signs -

IF YOU come from a large fam­ily, you may have a lower risk of can­cer, a new study sug­gests. Re­searchers an­a­lysed data from 178 coun­tries and found that peo­ple from larger fam­i­lies were less likely to get can­cer than those from smaller fam­i­lies.

The link be­tween fam­ily size and can­cer risk was “in­de­pen­dent of in­come, lev­els of ur­ban­i­sa­tion and age,” study se­nior author Ma­ciej Hen­neberg said in a Univer­sity of Zurich news re­lease. He’s a guest pro­fes­sor in the In­sti­tute of Evo­lu­tion­ary Medicine at the univer­sity, in Switzer­land.

Fam­ily size in­cluded not just par­ents and their chil­dren, but also mem­bers of the ex­tended fam­ily in the house­hold. This pro­tec­tive ef­fect of a large fam­ily was stronger in men than in women, ac­cord­ing to the study pub­lished re­cently in the jour­nal BMC Can­cer.

It’s im­por­tant to note, how­ever, that the study only found an as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween fam­ily size and can­cer risk. It did not prove a cause-and-ef­fect con­nec­tion. Fam­ily life can be stress­ful, but can also pro­vide pos­i­tive emo­tional en­vi­ron­ments that can boost a per­son’s re­sis­tance to dis­eases, in­clud­ing can­cer, the re­searchers said. Fam­ily mem­bers sup­port­ing one an­other in fol­low­ing a healthy life­style may also pro­vide pro­tec­tion against can­cer, the study authors added.

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