Environment and Breast Cancer: Science Review

Evidence From Humans
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Associations of adult measures of childhood growth with breast cancer: findings from the British Women's Heart and Health Study
Lawlor, D. A., Okasha, M., Gunnell, D., Smith, G. D., Ebrahim, S. British Journal of Cancer. 2003. 89:1, 81-7.
Topic area
Body size
Study design
Other: Cross sectional analysis (case-control)
Funding agency
Other: British Women's Heart and Health Study, Dep
Study Participants
Number of Cases
145 (28 pre) (117 post)
Menopausal Status
The menopausal status of women included in this study is listed here.
Pre menopausal
Post menopausal
Number in Cohort
Cohort: 3,554
Participant selection: Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Criteria used to select participants in the study.
In: participants of the British Women's Heart and Health Study; age 60-79 years during recruitment (4/99-3/2001); patient of a general practitioner in one of 23 British towns; completed a questionnaire and attended a local health center for an in-person interview
Comment about participation selection
Strengths: anthropometric data were obtained by trained staff; analyzed breast cancer risk in association with height, leg length and trunk length; results were stratified by menopausal status; majority of cases were identified by at least two sources Limitations: cross sectional study that has survivor bias that excludes women who have died from the most aggressive form of breast cancer; few cases
Exposures investigated
Height, leg length and trunk length
How exposure was measured
Questionnaire, in person Anthropometric measurement, researcher-administered
Statistical Analysis
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.
Adequately controlled, Confounders: age, smoking status, weight, WHR, age at menarche, age at menopause, hysterectomy/oopherectomy, osteoporosis, adult social class, and childhood social class
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
Effect modifiers: menopausal status
Strength of associations reported
Breast cancer prevalence increases for each s.d. (6.4 cm) increase in height OR=1.25(1.05-1.50) (age, lifestyle, reproductive factor and lifecourse socioeconomic position adjusted)
Breast cancer prevalence increases for each s.d. increase in height (6.4 cm), leg length (4.3 cm) and trunk length (3.6 cm) in postmenopausal women, OR=1.31(1.07-1.61), OR=1.21(1.00-1.48), OR=1.23(1.01-1.51) respectively.
Results Comments
No significant association between premenopausal breast cancer and height, leg length or trunk length. Increase trend in breast cancer prevalence for each s.d. increase in leg length and trunk length, although not significant.
Author address
Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol, Canynge Hall, Whiteladies Road, Bristol BS8 2PR, UK. d.a.lawlor@bristol.ac.uk