Twins may share cancer risk, says study

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A recent study notes that twins may share cancer risk. Read on to know more

According to a study published in the January 5, issue of JAMA, it was observed that there is an increased cancer risk in twins whose co-twin was diagnosed with cancer. An excess familial risk for cancer overall and for specific types of cancer, including prostate, melanoma, breast, ovary, and uterus was noted.

The long-term follow-up study was conducted on more than 2,000,000 Nordic twins. The twins were followed between 1943 and 2010 i.e. over an average of 32 years. It was also observed that among every three individuals, one developed cancer over life time period. In 3,316 pairs, cancer was diagnosed in both the twins. Which included 38 percent of identical twins and 26 percent of the fraternal twins.

According to the researchers, when cancer was detected in one fraternal twin, the risk of getting cancer was 37 percent in co-twin. In case of identical co-twin the risk increased to 46 percent. It was found that testicular cancer is one of the strongest familial risks.

In men the risk of developing this disease was 12 times higher in case of fraternal twin. In case of genetically identical twins this risk was 28 times higher.

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