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No Link Between Infertility, Rare Infant Cancer: Study

by Anne Harding,  REUTERS,  April 23, 2010

Infant leukemia strikes children before they reach age one, and is believed to be a different disease from leukemias occurring in older children, Dr. Logan G. Spector of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, who helped conduct the study, told Reuters Health. The disease is also extremely rare, he added, with about 150 cases being diagnosed in the United States every year. "It's literally less common than the proverbial lightning strike," he said.

"Obviously when you have a disease as rare as this it's very difficult to make progress on finding the causes," he added.

An earlier study had hinted that infertility treatment might be associated with the disease. To investigate further, Spector and his colleagues looked at 443 children with the disease and 324 healthy controls. All of the children had been diagnosed between 1996 and 2006.

The researchers found no association between infertility in parents or infertility treatment and risk of infant leukemia. While they did find that the risk was actually increased for children born to women who weren't trying to get pregnant versus women who'd been trying for less than a year, this finding should be taken with a grain of salt, Spector noted. "The more ways you cut the data, the more likely you are to find something spurious." Read more.


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