Men may be more likely to develop prostate cancer if their mothers took pregnancy and growth hormones when they were in the womb.
This link has been made by Swedish researchers after they studied the birth records of 250 men who developed prostate cancer, and compared them with records of 691 others, 80 of whom died from prostate cancer.
They found that those born full term, and with a high birth weight and height, were more likely to develop the cancer. Conversely, those whose mothers had pre eclampsia, or who themselves were born prematurely, were much less likely to develop the cancer.
Although there was no direct proof that the mothers were taking hormones, the scientists believe the data support earlier hypotheses of a link between hormones and prostate cancer. These theories maintain that a very early shock to the system is needed to enable genes to mutate and which eventually appear as cancer.
See WDDTY vol 6, no 4 and The Guide to Men's Health for more information on prostate cancer.
!ABMJ, 1996; 313: 337-340.