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Keywords:

  • cancer;
  • late effects;
  • parenthood;
  • survivor

Abstract

We evaluated in a population-based setting the postdiagnosis parenthood among survivors compared with the fertility patterns of siblings. Cancer patients aged 0–34 years at diagnosis were identified from the Finnish Cancer Registry (N = 25,784), and their siblings (N = 44,611) by registry linkage. Further linkage identified the offspring of the patient and sibling cohorts. The relative probabilities of parenthood for first and second births separately were estimated for male and female survivors in different diagnostic age-groups and subsites using a Cox proportional hazards model, with age as the time variable and adjusting for the birth cohort of parents. In addition, estimates were calculated for 5 diagnostic eras in all subsites combined. Compared to siblings, both female and male cancer survivors were less likely to parent at least 1 child (RR 0.46, 95% CI 0.44–0.48 and RR 0.57, 95% CI 0.54–0.60, respectively). The relative probability of parenthood was especially low in male childhood cancer survivors and female young adult cancer survivors. However, cancer patients were only slightly less likely than siblings to parent a second child, with RR 0.91, 95% CI 0.86–0.97 and RR 0.95, 95% CI 0.89–1.01 for females and males, respectively. The relative probability of parenthood increased over calendar time among young adult cancer patients. The relative probability of parenthood following early onset cancer was overall significantly reduced by ∼50%. Parenting a second child, however, was not reduced among pediatric and adolescent survivors, and only slightly reduced among early adulthood cancer survivors compared to siblings. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.