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A clear inverse relation between average completed family size and mortality from ovarian cancer in different populations of women is seen from one country to another; for successive generations of women living within the same country; in married and single women; and in different social, religious, immigrant, and ethnic groups. The findings suggest that pregnancy--or some component of the child-bearing process--protects directly against ovarian cancer. This protection seems to persist throughout life. The more-than-twofold increase in the age-standardised ovarian-cancer death-rate in England and Wales since 1931 can be explained largely by changes in the average completed family size.


Journal article



Publication Date





1083 - 1087


Adult, Canada, England, Europe, Family Characteristics, Female, History, 19th Century, History, 20th Century, Humans, Japan, Middle Aged, Ovarian Neoplasms, Parity, Pregnancy, Social Class, United States, Wales