A study reveals that children born with genetic birth defects like Down's syndrome are at an increased risk of developing childhood cancer.
Scientists have said that children born with non-chromosomal birth defects have a two-fold higher risk of cancer before age 15, compared to children born without birth defects.
However, cancer risk varies by the specific type of birth defect, and is not significantly increased in many of the more common birth defects, Science Daily reported citing the study published in July in PLOS ONE.
Birth defects are an increasing health concern worldwide, and in 2010 the World Health Organisation identified birth defect prevention and care as a global priority.
"There is a large body of evidence for increased cancer risk in children with Down's syndrome, a genetic birth defect caused by the presence of an extra copy of chromosome 21," says Lorenzo Botto, professor of paediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine and an author of the study.
"However, studies to date have provided inconsistent findings on cancer risk in children with structural birth defects that are not caused by chromosome abnormalities."