HealthDay News — Family history of cancer (FHC) is a significant risk factor for childhood asthma development, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, held from Nov. 7 to 11 in Houston.

Sairaman Nagarajan, MD, MPH, from the State University of New York in New York City, and colleagues used data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) from 2012 to 2016 to examine the trans-generational association of FHC on childhood asthma diagnoses. Data were included for 57,181 individuals.

The researchers found that children with asthma were significantly older (10.67 vs 8.35 years) and more often male than female (59.2 vs 40.8%). The proportion with childhood asthma was increased among those with FHC in chi-square testing (20.6 vs 13.4%). In unadjusted models, FHC was significantly positively associated with childhood asthma (odds ratio, 1.68); after adjustment for age, sex, race, family education, and smoking, similar results were observed (odds ratio, 1.41).

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“The NHIS survey reflects the US population, and because of the large number of those surveyed, the findings are significant for people across the country,” a coauthor said in a statement. “If a parent knows there is a family history of cancer, they should be sure to tell their pediatrician and allergist, as an extra effort at asthma screening could be valuable in diagnosing and treating childhood asthma.”

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