Becoming a dad may be fraught with more risks than previously believed, for a new study has found a link between fatherhood and prostrate cancer.
The study has found that fathers have an increased risk of the disease than childless men. However, siring a large family may be the best prevention, for the study also found that the more kids a man has, the lower is his risk of developing the disease.
According to researchers led by Kristian Jørgensen of the Statens Serum Institut, in Copenhagen, Denmark, there is evidence that childless men may be at a lower risk of prostrate cancer.
"Regardless of the underlying mechanism, the results of the current study provide prospective, epidemiologic support for the view that childless men are somehow at lower risk of developing prostate cancer," the authors wrote.
Based on a national population-based register of all men born in Denmark between 1935 and 1988, they found that even among men who have fathered kids, those who sired sons were at a lower risk than those who fathered daughters.
They found men without children were 16 percent less likely than those with children to be diagnosed with prostate cancer during up to 35-years of follow up.
The researchers also noted that men who have a large number of children have a lower risk of the disease. This, they say, may be due to the "healthy father" phenomenon, in which men who retain fertility are less likely to develop a malignancy.
The study found no association between prostate risk and child gender.
The authors however insist that additional studies are required in this field.
"Additional studies are required to identify the underlying biologic, environmental, social and/or behavioral factors that explain the observed differences in prostate cancer risk between fathers and childless men and between men fathering few and those fathering many children," they state.
The study appears in the February 15, 2008 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.