Scientists have said that children born with non-chromosomal birth defects have a two-fold higher risk of cancer before age 15, compared to children born without birth defects.

However, cancer risk varies by the specific type of birth defect, and is not significantly increased in many of the more common birth defects, Science Daily reported citing the study published in July in PLOS ONE.

Birth defects are an increasing health concern worldwide, and in 2010 the World Health Organization identified birth defect prevention and care as a global priority.

"There is a large body of evidence for increased cancer risk in children with Down's syndrome, a genetic birth defect caused by the presence of an extra copy of chromosome 21," says Lorenzo Botto, professor of pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine and an author of the study.


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