Children of Older Dads at Higher Risk of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

WEDNESDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- Children born to older fathers are at increased risk for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a new study has found.

Researchers analyzed data on 110,999 California women and found that those born to fathers older than 40 had a 59 percent greater risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (cancer of the blood and immune system) than those born to fathers younger than 25.

The study, which appears online and in the June 15 print issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology, is one of the first to examine the link between parents' age and their adult children's risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, the authors said.

The findings add to the growing evidence that a father's age may have a significant effect on a child's health, said study author Yani Lu, of the City of Hope research and treatment center in Duarte, Calif. For example, other studies have found that children of older fathers may be more likely to develop prostate and breast cancers in adulthood, as well as some types of blood cancers during childhood.

"As a man, you may think, 'I can have a baby at 50 or 60 and live long enough to see him go through college.' But there may be other risks for your child down the line, and you may want to be conscious of those risks," Lu said in a news release from City of Hope.

As men age, they may accumulate mutations in their reproductive cells, which increases the risk of abnormalities being passed on to children.

Previous research has shown that older women who get pregnant are at increased risk for miscarriage and more likely to have babies with low birth weight, autism, or serious health problems, such as Down syndrome.

-- Robert Preidt

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SOURCE: City of Hope, May 2010, news release