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Clinical Oncology/Epidemiology

Absence of association between reproductive variables and the risk of breast cancer in young women in Sweden and Norway


A population-based case-control study was conducted in Sweden and Norway to analyse possible associations between breast cancer occurring before the age of 45 and several different characteristics of the women's reproductive life. A total of 422 (89.2%) of all eligible patients, and 527 (80.6%) of all eligible controls were interviewed. In univariate analyses, different characteristics of child-bearing (parity, age at first birth, years between last birth and diagnosis, duration of breast-feeding, and number of induced and spontaneous abortions), measures of the fertile or ovulating period (age at menarche, years between menarche and first pregnancy, and estimates of the menstruation span) and symptoms of anovulatory cycles or infertility were all seemingly unrelated to, or at most weakly associated with breast cancer. Adjustment for possible confounding factors in multivariate analyses resulted in largely unaltered risk estimates with odds ratios close to unity and without any significant trends when the exposure variables were studied in categorised or in continuous form. We conclude that reproductive factors did not explain the occurrence of breast cancer before the age of 45 in this population.

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Adami, HO., Bergström, R., Lund, E. et al. Absence of association between reproductive variables and the risk of breast cancer in young women in Sweden and Norway. Br J Cancer 62, 122–126 (1990).

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