Women who had their tonsils removed in childhood may be at increased risk of developing pre-menopausal breast cancer, according to University at Buffalo researchers.
Study leader Theodore Brasky said an apparent association may be related to the loss of protective function of the tonsils when they are removed.
Alternatively, tonsils that needed to be removed may have been markers for severe or chronic infections in childhood, and that such infections cause inflammation that may contribute to cancer, Brasky said.
The study involved 740 women with breast cancer and 810 healthy controls. Researchers found a 50 percent increased risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer in women who had had a tonsillectomy versus pre-menopausal women who had not.
Previous studies have linked tonsillectomies with an increased risk of Hodgkin's lymphoma, leukemia and cancers of the breast and prostate.
While the recent finding supports evidence that childhood exposures influence the risk of breast cancer in adulthood, further research is warranted, Brasky noted.
The study results were reported at the 100th annual meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research in Los Angeles this week.
source Business First of Buffalo via The Cancer Blog