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Mothers' hip size influences daughters' breast cancer risk

Mothers' hip size influences daughters' breast cancer risk
8th October 2007

Mothers with wide, round hips are three times more likely to give birth to daughters who will go on to develop breast cancer than mothers with narrower hips.

Researchers from the US, UK and Finland hypothesised that wide hips indicate higher concentrations of sex hormone, "which persist after puberty and adversely affect breast development of the daughters in early gestation".

A woman's risk of breast cancer was found to be higher if her mother’s intercristal diameter - the widest distance between the wing-like structures at the top of the hip bone - was more than 30cm.

And the breast cancer risk was 2.5 times higher for the daughters of women in whom the widest distance was more than 3cm greater than the distance at the front.

"Mothers whose daughters developed breast cancer were of similar height to the other mothers, the authors wrote.

"This suggests that they had similar nutrition through childhood. Our findings do not therefore indicate that good nutrition through childhood is linked to breast cancer in the next generation. But they do show that the pubertal growth spurt of girls, which reflects the level of nutrition, is strongly associated with the risk of breast cancer in their daughters."

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