A new study of twins has found that when a twin sibling is diagnosed with cancer, the other twin faces a higher risk to develop it. Of the 23 types of cancers that were studied, excess familial risk was seen for nearly all types of cancers; these included common cancers too, such as testicular cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, head and neck cancer, ovarian cancer and stomach cancer.
For the first time, the study showed that when one of the twin pairs developed cancer, the other twin often developed a different type of cancer. This suggests that in some families, there can be an increased risk of different types of cancers.
Researchers looked at over 200, 000 twins who were both identical and fraternal in Finland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden. These participants were part of the Nordic Twin Study of Cancer and were followed for more than an average of 32 years between 1943 and 2010.
The study has been published in JAMA.
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