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Cancer Causes Control. 1992 Nov;3(6):527-32.

Childhood cancer among Swedish twins.

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Department of Epidemiology, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.


The risk of childhood cancer was evaluated among 35,582 twins born in Sweden between 1952 and 1967. Cancers were identified through linkage with national cancer and mortality registries. Overall, 59 childhood cancers and 41 deaths from cancer occurred before the age of 16. For both sexes combined, the cancer incidence was similar to that in the general population of primarily single-born children (number observed/number expected [O/E] = 1.0, 95 percent confidence interval [CI] = 0.7-1.2). For males under age five, cancer incidence was reduced significantly (O/E = 0.3, CI = 0.1-0.7). There was a substantial increase in all-cause mortality among twins (O/E = 3.7), attributable to a high mortality during the first year of life. Excluding this first year, the O/E for death (all causes) was 1.1 (CI = 1.0-1.3). For cancer mortality of both sexes, the O/E was 0.9 (CI = 0.6-1.2), with no significant reduction of risk in any sex-age group. We conclude that with the possible exception of males aged 0-4 years, the childhood cancer risk of twins appears similar to that of singletons.

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