Breastfeeding is not Associated with Risk of Developing Childhood Leukemia in the Sultanate of Oman


Background: Recent case-control studies on breastfeeding and childhood leukemia risk have indicated that longer duration of breast feeding (> 6 months) is associated with decreased risk of the disease.
Objective: To investigate the relationship between duration of breastfeeding and risk of childhood leukemia in Oman. Materials and
Methods: In a case control study all recently diagnosed and registered cases of childhood leukemia at the National Registry during (1999- 2009), a total of 70 cases, were recruited. For each case, a gender and age matched control was selected either from the family relatives or from the neighbors of family siblings.
Results: Breastfeeding is culturally favored for longer periods of time (up to 24 months) in Oman. Data of this study revealed that 21% of cases and 12 % of their gender and age matched controls were breastfed for an average duration of 6-12 months. In 75% of the cases and 81% of controls the period of breastfeeding was between 12-24 months. Only 4% of the cases and 7% of controls were breastfed for a period more than 24 months. No significant (P < 0.05) differences were observed between the cases and controls with respect to breastfeeding and the risk of childhood leukemia. Similarly the duration of breast feeding did not have any significant (P > 0.05) effect on the risk of childhood leukemia in Oman.
Conclusion: This study indicated that duration of breastfeeding was not associated with risk of childhood leukemia in Oman and there may be some other environmental and genetic factors that might be responsible for the occurrence of this disease and must be explored further