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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 5423765, 5 pages
Research Article

Is Month of Birth a Risk Factor for Colorectal Cancer?

1Department of General Surgery, Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Higher Kingston, Yeovil BA21 4AT, UK
2Faculty of Science, University of Bath, Wessex House 3.22, Bath BA2 7AY, UK
3Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London, Floor 10, QEQM Building, St. Mary’s Hospital, Praed Street, London W2 1NY, UK
4Centre for Paediatric Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Institute of Child Health, University College London, 30 Guilford St, London WC1N 1EH, UK
5Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, University of Liverpool, Brownlow Hill, Liverpool L69 3BX, UK

Correspondence should be addressed to N. K. Francis

Received 8 September 2016; Revised 9 November 2016; Accepted 22 November 2016; Published 4 January 2017

Academic Editor: Paolo Gionchetti

Copyright © 2017 N. K. Francis et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. The developmental origins of health and disease hypothesis and season of birth have been linked to a wide variety of later life conditions including cancer. Whether any relationship between month and season of birth and colorectal cancer exists is unknown. Methods. A case-control study was performed with month of birth extracted from a dedicated colorectal cancer database. Age and gender matched patients were used as a control group. Generalised linear models were fitted with Poisson and negative binomial responses and logarithmic links. A forward stepwise approach was followed adding seasonal components with 6- and 12-month periods. Results. 1019 colorectal cancer patients and 1277 randomly selected age and gender matched controls were included. For both men and women there is an excess of colorectal cancer in those born in autumn and a corresponding reduction of risk among those born in spring (p = 0.026). For the identified September peak, the excess risk for colorectal cancer was 14.8% (95% CI 5.6–32.3%) larger than the spring trough. Conclusion. There is a seasonal effect in the monthly birth rates of people who are operated for colorectal cancer with a disproportionate excess of cancer in those born in September. Further large studies are required to validate these findings.