Cesarean birth seems to be associated with increased risk of cancer during childhood, especially lymphoma and sarcoma, according to a study published online March 17 in Acta Paediatrica.
Sophie Marcoux, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Montreal, and colleagues examined the association between cesarean birth and age-specific risks of childhood cancer in a cohort of 1,034,049 children followed between 2006 to 2020, from birth until age 14 years.
Overall, 24.1 percent of the children were born by cesarean birth and 9.4 percent by operative vaginal delivery. The researchers found that cesarean was associated with increased risk of any cancer (hazard ratio, 1.16; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.04 to 1.30), hematopoietic cancer (hazard ratio, 1.12; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.92 to 1.36), and solid tumors (hazard ratio, 1.21; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.06 to 1.39), compared with spontaneous vaginal birth. The associations strengthened at age 2 years, and were highest for lymphoma and sarcoma. There was no significant association seen for operative vaginal birth with risk of cancer.
“The data in this study raise the possibility of a relationship between cesarean birth and cancer in childhood, but the etiologic pathways require further investigation before reaching a conclusion,” the authors write.