This study was undertaken to examine whether there is an association between parity and age at first birth and risk of death from brain cancer.
The study cohort consisted of 1,292,462 women who had a first and singleton childbirth between Jan. 1, 1978 and Dec. 31, 1987. We tracked each woman from the time of their first childbirth to December 31, 2009, and their vital status was ascertained by linking records with the computerized mortality database. Cox proportional hazard regression models were used to estimate the hazard ratios (HR) of death from brain cancer associated with parity and age at first birth.
There were 316 brain cancer deaths during 34,980,246 person-years of follow-up. The mortality rate of brain cancer was 0.90 cases per 100,000 person-years. The adjusted HR was 1.35 (95% CI= 0.91-2.01) for women who gave birth between 21 and 25, 1.61 (95% CI=1.05-2.45) for women who gave birth after 25 years of age, respectively, when compared with women who gave birth less than 20 years. A trend of increasing risk of brain cancer was seen with increasing age at first birth. The adjusted HR were 0.73 (95% CI= 0.53-0.99) for women who had 2 children, and 0.60 (95% CI =0.43-0.83) for women with 3 or more births, respectively, when compared with women who had given birth to only 1 child. There was a significant decreasing trend in the HRs of brain cancer with increasing parity.
This study provides evidence that reproductive factors (parity and early age at first birth) may confer a protective effect on the risk of death from brain cancer.