Environment and Breast Cancer: Science Review

Evidence From Humans
Print this page
Birthweight, childhood growth and risk of breast cancer in a British cohort
Stavola, B. L., Hardy, R., Kuh, D., Silva, I. S., Wadsworth, M., Swerdlow, A. J. Br J Cancer. 2000. 83:7, 964-8.
Topic area
Early life exposures
Study design
Prospective cohort
Funding agency
Other: Medical Research Council
Study Participants
Menopausal Status
The menopausal status of women included in this study is listed here.
Number in Cohort
Cohort:: 2221
Participant selection: Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Criteria used to select participants in the study.
Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development (NSHD) In: Women born in the UK during the week 3-9 March 1946, and single, legitimate births to wives of all non-manual and agricultural workers and to 1 in 4 wives of manual workers. Ex: women who had died or emigrated before 1971, women who could not be flagged and who had no birthweight recorded
Comment about participation selection
19 in-person follow-up contacts between birth and age 43 and then annually health questionnaire
Exposure Investigated
How exposure was measured
Other: Birth records
Exposure assessment comment
Few cases in extreme categories of birthweight
Statistical Analysis
Breast cancer outcome investigated
Primary incident breast cancer
Ethnic groups with separate analysis
If this study provided a separate analysis by ethnic or racial group, the groups are listed here.
Confounders considered
Other breast cancer risk factors, such as family history, age at first birth, and hormone replacement therapy use, that were taken into account in the study.
Race, menopausal status, alcohol consumption, family history of breast cancer
Genetic characterization included
If the study analyzed relationships between environmental factors and inherited genetic variations, this field will be marked “Yes.” “No”, if not.
Description of major analysis
Cox proportional hazard model. Covariates including maternal age, birth order, childhood socioclass, weight at 7 years, height at 7 years, age at menarche, adult height, age at first birth, parity and weight at age 36 have been considered, but adjustment
Strength of associations reported
Birthweight: 2.02 (0.59-6.90)
Results Comments
Breast cancer risk rose gradually for successive categories of increasing birthweight, although the estimates were based on small numbers.
Author address
Cancer and Public Health Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London, WC1E 7HT, UK.