Objective: To test the hypothesis that history of blood transfusion is associated with an increased incidence of cancer in older women.
Design: Prospective cohort study.
Setting: General community in the state of Iowa.
Participants: Random sample of 37 337 cancer-free Iowa women ages 55 to 69 years.
Measurements: Transfusion history was assessed with a mailed questionnaire completed in January 1986. Cancer incidence in 5 years was ascertained by a population-based cancer registry.
Results: Women who had ever received a blood transfusion were at an increased risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma (relative risk [RR] = 2.20; 95% CI, 1.35 to 3.58) and kidney cancer (RR = 2.53; CI, 1.34 to 4.78). The relative risks for these cancers were greater with decreasing time from first transfusion. No increased risk occurred for cancers of the breast, lung, uterine corpus, ovary, pancreas, colon, rectum, skin (melanoma), or for all cancers considered together.
Conclusion: These findings suggest that previous blood transfusion may be a risk factor for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and kidney cancer but is not associated with the most common neoplasms.