Published April 29, 2008
A University of California, Berkeley study revealed that children who attend daycare or play groups cut their risk of acute lymphoblastic leukemia by about 30 percent.
Leukemia is the most common cancer found in children in the industrialized world, affecting one in 2,000 children, according to the study, and acute lymphoblastic leukemia accounts for more than 80 percent of those cases.
According to scientists, leukemia is triggered first by a genetic mutation in the mother’s womb. The second trigger is a childhood infection.
However, it is thought that children who attend daycare or play groups and contract spreading infections, will likely build up immunity to leukemia, according to the study.
If the immune system is not challenged early in the child’s life, the child’s risk of an inappropriate response to infections is increased, which raises the risk of developing leukemia.