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Time-dependent Risks Of Cancer Clustering Among Couples: A Nationwide Population-based Cohort Study In Taiwan

Jong-Yi Wang, Yia-Wen Liang, Chun-Chen Yeh, Chiu-Shong Liu, Chen-Yu Wang

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ObjectivesSpousal clustering of cancer warrants attention. Whether the common environment or high-age vulnerability determines cancer clustering is unclear. The risk of clustering in couples versus non-couples is undetermined. The time to cancer clustering after the first cancer diagnosis is yet to be reported. This study investigated cancer clustering over time among couples by using nationwide data.MethodsA cohort of 5643 married couples in the 2002–2013 Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database was identified and randomly matched with 5643 non-couple pairs through dual propensity score matching. Factors associated with clustering (both spouses with tumours) were analysed by using the Cox proportional hazard model.ResultsPropensity-matched analysis revealed that the risk of clustering of all tumours among couples (13.70%) was significantly higher than that among non-couples (11.84%) (OR=1.182, 95% CI 1.058 to 1.321, P=0.0031). The median time to clustering of all tumours and of malignant tumours was 2.92 and 2.32 years, respectively. Risk characteristics associated with clustering included high age and comorbidity.ConclusionsShared environmental factors among spouses might be linked to a high incidence of cancer clustering. Cancer incidence in one spouse may signal cancer vulnerability in the other spouse. Promoting family-oriented cancer care in vulnerable families and preventing shared lifestyle risk factors for cancer are suggested.