Identifying opportunities for cancer prevention during preadolescence and adolescence: puberty as a window of susceptibility.

Division of Adolescent Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio. Electronic address: .
Journal of Adolescent Health (Impact Factor: 2.75). 05/2013; 52(5 Suppl):S15-20. DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.09.019
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Early life exposures during times of rapid growth and development are recognized increasingly to impact later life. Epidemiologic studies document an association between exposures at critical windows of susceptibility with outcomes as diverse as childhood and adult obesity, timing of menarche, and risk for hypertension or breast cancer.
This article briefly reviews the concept of windows of susceptibility for providers who care for adolescent patients.
The theoretical bases for windows of susceptibility is examined, evaluating the relationship between pubertal change and breast cancer as a paradigm, and reviewing the underlying mechanisms, such as epigenetic modification.
The long-term sequela of responses to early exposures may impact other adult morbidities; addressing these exposures represents an important challenge for contemporary medicine.

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