Having long-living parents key to avoiding cancer
People whose parents live a long life are less likely to get cancer, a study has revealed.
Scientists at the University of Exeter found those with a mother aged at least 91 or a father living past 87 were 24pc less likely to get the illness, compared with those whose parents reached average lifespans.
Researchers from the Devon university's medical school, backed by scientists from around the world, studied nearly 1,000 cases of cancer.
They found overall mortality rates dropped by up to 19pc for each decade that at least one of the parents lived past the age of 65.
Professor William Henley, from the University of Exeter Medical School, said: "Previous studies have shown that the children of centenarians tend to live longer with less heart disease, but this is the first robust evidence that the children of longer-lived parents are also less likely to get cancer.
"We also found that they are less prone to diabetes or suffering a stroke.
"These protective effects are passed on from parents who live beyond 65 – far younger than shown in previous studies, which have looked at those over the age of 80.
"Obviously, children of older parents are not immune to contracting cancer or any other diseases of ageing, but our evidence shows that rates are lower.
"We also found that this inherited resistance to age-related diseases gets stronger the older their parents lived."
The participants were based in the US and were followed up over 18 years, from 1992 to 2010.
They were interviewed every two years, with questions including the ages of their parents and when they died.