Female reproductive history and risks of cancer and other diseases in a prospective cohort study of 300,000 Chinese women
Sanne Peters, George Institute for Global Health, University of Oxford
Several large studies have investigated the relationships of reproductive patterns (e.g., menarche, menopause, parity, age at first birth, induced and spontaneous abortion, breast feeding) with risks of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and certain cancers in women. But, most of these studies were mainly of the populations in the West, with limited data available from China. In China, there have been rapid and dramatic changes in reproductive patterns during recent decades. These changes may be associated with both favourable and unfavourable health consequences and large-scale prospective studies can help to assess the effects of female reproductive history on cancer and other chronic diseases among Chinese women.
The China Kadoorie Biobank (CKB) including 300,000 adult women who were recruited during 2004-8 from 10 diverse areas of China, with extensive data collected by questionnaire (including detailed reproductive history) and physical measurements, and with long-term storage of blood samples. By 1 Jan 2016, follow-up using record linkage with mortality registries and nationwide health insurance systems have already identified ~12,000 incident cases of cancer and ~500,000 episodes of hospitalisation of >1,200 of different disease types among women. This will provide reliable prospective evidence about the relationship of reproductive factors with risks of cancer and other conditions in China where the women’s reproductive patterns differed importantly from those in Western populations.
RESEARCH EXPERIENCE, RESEARCH METHODS AND TRAINING
The DPhil student will study the associations between reproductive factors and risks of certain cancers and other chronic diseases, by:
- Conducting thorough literature reviews on the association between reproductive factors and chronic diseases;
- Providing reliable estimates of the association and strength of the relationships of various reproductive factors with cancer and other chronic diseases based on CKB data;
- Examining the impact from ‘great famine’, ‘one-child policy’ and other lifestyle factors in Chinese women;
- Using genetic data to explore causal associations.
The specific lines of investigation will be subject to further discussion and personal interest.
The student will work within a multi-disciplinary team and will gain research experience in systematic literature reviews, study design and planning, epidemiological and statistical methodology, statistical programming, data analysis and data presentation.
FIELD WORK, SECONDMENTS, INDUSTRY PLACEMENTS AND TRAINING
By the end of DPhil studies, it is expected that the student will be competent to plan, undertake and interpret statistical analysis of large-scale epidemiological data, to publish 3-5 peer-reviewed papers and to report findings at relevant meetings.
Students should have at least a 2.1 degree in medical sciences and an MSc in a public health related field. The project will requires some previous statistical and programming training/experience. Students should also have a strong interest in cancer or non-communicable disease epidemiology.