A history of cancer in the husband does not increase the risk of breast cancer

Eva Negri, Paola Bertuccio, Renato Talamini, Silvia Franceschi, Maurizio Montella, Attilio Giacosa, Claudio Pelucchi, Carlo La Vecchia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Spouses share the home environment, and dietary and other lifestyle habits. Furthermore, a cancer diagnosis in the husband is a stressful event for the wife also. Thus, a history of cancer in the husband may be an indicator of breast cancer risk. We investigated the issue in a large Italian multicentric case-control study on 2,588 women with incident breast cancer and 2,569 female hospital controls, admitted for acute, non neoplastic diseases. The adjusted odds ratio (OR) was 1.0 (95% confidence interval, CI, 0.7-1.4) for a history of any type of cancer in the husband, 1.0 (95% 0.4-2.7) for stomach, 0.7 (95% 0.2-2.3) for intestinal (chiefly colorectal), 0.9 (95% CI 0.5-1.7) for lung, and 1.3 (95% CI 0.4-4.3) for prostate cancer. The OR was close to unity also when data were analyzed in separate strata of patient's or husband's age, patient's education, or vital status of the husband. This study suggests that women whose husband had a diagnosis of cancer are not at increased risk of breast cancer, although results for individual cancer sites should be interpreted with caution, due to small numbers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3177-3179
Number of pages3
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 15 2006


  • Breast neoplasms
  • Case-control study
  • Risk factors
  • Spouses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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