[News release] Smoking when pregnant increases cancer risk for daughters
A new study has found women who smoke when pregnant are putting their daughters at a greater risk of developing ovarian and breast cancer later in life.
The Australian National University (ANU) study, published in Human Reproduction, found mothers who reported smoking most days while pregnant had daughters who had an earlier age of first menstruation, or menarche.
Lead researcher Dr Alison Behie said reaching menarche at an earlier age increases the number of ovulation cycles a woman will have in her life, and puts her at greater risk of developing reproductive cancers possibly due to increased exposure to hormones such as oestrogen.
“We’re discovering more and more that major aspects of our biology, and even our behaviour, are set before we are born,” said Dr Behie, a biological anthropologist from the ANU School of Archaeology and Anthropology.
“We know the mother’s exposure to stress, such as smoking in this case, can influence the long-term health of the child.
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