Cancer risks in childhood and adolescence among the offspring of immigrants to Sweden

Abstract

We used the nation-wide Swedish Family-Cancer Database to analyse the risk of nervous system tumours, leukaemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in age groups 0–4 and 0–19 years among Swedish-born offspring of immigrants. The study included 850 000 individuals with an immigrant background, including European, Asian and American parents. We calculated standardised incidence ratios for the above three malignancies using Swedish offspring as a reference. Subjects were grouped by region or by selected countries of parental origin. No group differed significantly from Swedes in the occurrence of nervous system neoplasm or leukaemia. Offspring of Yugoslav fathers (SIR 2.27) and Turkish parents were at increased risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The highest risk was noted for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma among young offspring (0–4 years) of two Turkish parents (6.87). The currently available limited data on rates for childhood non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in these countries do not explain the risk in the offspring of immigrants. Yugoslavs and Turks are recent immigrant groups to Sweden, and their offspring have been subject to much population mixing, perhaps leading to recurring infections and immunological stimulation, which may contribute to their excess of lymphomas.

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