Children whose parents had cancer tend to have poorer school grades, educational achievement and subsequent earning power as an adult, new research has found.
The more severe the parent’s cancer, the greater the impact seemed to be, the findings indicate.
Particularly badly affected were children who had been under five when the diagnosis was made or when the cancer affected their father, according to the study of more than one million Danish people, published in the ‘Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health’.
One in three people will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives, and it has been estimated one in every six survivors of the disease lives with children.
The ‘British Medical Journal’ reports this was an observational study and can’t establish cause.
But the researchers said: “Parental cancer in childhood could be considered as a potential early life stressor that may increase the health vulnerability to later life exposures, expanding the risk of later social disadvantage.”