Children of Long-lived Parents: Less Risk of Cancer?

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A recently completed study at the University of Exeter showed that people with long-lived parents had a twenty-four percent decreased chance of getting cancer.  The parameters of ‘long-lived’ defined as mothers who lived past ninety-one years and fathers who lived past eighty-seven years.

A side study posted from the National Institute for Health and Medical Research in France, the Universities of Michigan, and the University of Iowa  follows alongside these results, revealing that for every decade at least one of the parents lived after the age of sixty-five, the overall mortality rate dropped by nineteen percent. For people studied with mothers who lived past age sixty-five, the result was a forty percent dip in mortality rate, while fathers had a much lower decline of fourteen percent.

Some experts speculated that health factors ,such as smoking, could have caused the lowering of the mortality dip from women to men. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A says that the Health and Retirement Study was

based in America, ran for eighteen years, and had 9,764 participants.  Participants were interviewed every two years, mostly asked about the ages of their parents and the dates of their deaths. Professor William Henley, from the University of Exeter, stated that this study was the first to show a link between parents that lived longer, and a much smaller chance of getting cancer, diabetes, and suffering from strokes. The main shortcoming of the research was that the results were too narrow for any individual testing of cancer types, which left scientists limited to studying cancer as a disease overall.




1. A. Dutta, W. Henley, J.-M. Robine, K. M. Langa, R. B. Wallace, D. Melzer. Longer

Lived Parents: Protective Associations With Cancer Incidence and Overall Mortality. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 2013; DOI: 10.1093/gerona/glt061


2. University of Exeter (2013, May 28). Children of long-lived parents less likely to get cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 28, 2013, from /releases/2013/05/130528122508.htm

By Lauren Horne

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