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Gender Of Children May Be Linked To Risk Of Prostate Cancer

Men who have more daughters and no sons, may have a greater risk of getting prostate cancer, according to researchers//.

A team of Israeli researchers compared families of men diagnosed with prostate cancer with other men and found that having more daughters and risk of prostate cancer were related.

The Journal of the National Cancer Institute study agrees there may be a link but the factors responsible for prostate cancer and having more daughters may be the male "Y" sex chromosome, not the act of having either a son or daughter.

UK experts also said that a common genetic condition may cause both cancer risk and the chance of fathering girls.

Prostate cancer is the most common among male cancers, with a number of new cases being discovered every year.

As the name suggests, prostate cancer develops from cells of the prostate gland, found only in men producing some of the seminal fluid, which protects and nourishes sperm cells.

The Israeli researchers studied 38,000 men, and compared history of 712 men diagnosed with prostate cancer with other men and found that overall, compared with men who had at least one son, those with only daughters were 40% more likely to develop prostate cancer.

The risk appeared to increase when a man had three or more daughters and no sons as men with three daughters and no sons were up to 60% more prone to develop prostate cancer

The researchers looked for other explanations for the noticeable difference and came to a conclusion that, having more number of daughters might encourage a man to be more health-conscious and attend routine health check ups, which leads to detection of prostate problems.

Another possibility was that men with a desire to father a son, on having daughters continuously might go to the doctor to find out if there was any problem.

However, these explanations have no evidence to support, and the resea rchers concluded that a common genetic condition could be causative of the birth of daughters and the risk of cancer.

A sperm has only one sex chromosome, either a Y, which produces a male embryo, or an X, producing a female embryo.

It was further suggested that certain factors on a man's Y chromosome might not only affect the likelihood of conception of male offspring but also lead to cancer development.

Chris Hiley , head of policy and research of the Prostate Cancer Charity said: "This is an interesting study - it certainly attracts the attention, but it doesn't yet translate into useful advice for men until other complex genetic studies are done.

"Further research to confirm these findings in men from other parts of the world is needed

"We also need to uncover exactly what it is about the Y chromosome, which only men have, that might make men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer also more likely to have fathered girls rather than boys.

"In the meantime no-one should rush off with the idea that girls give their fathers prostate cancer."


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