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Body size and the risk of colon cancer in a large case-control study

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the risks of height, weight and body fat distribution associated with colon cancer in subcategories of gender, age and site in the colon. Interaction with family history of colorectal cancer is also examined. DESIGN: Case-control study of diet, anthropometry and colon cancer risk. SUBJECTS: Nineteen hundred and eighty-three colon cancer cases (age 30-79 y) and 2400 age and gender matched population controls. MEASUREMENTS: Height, weight and waist and hip circumferences were obtained by trained interviewers. Body Mass Index (BMI) and Waist-Hip Ratio (WHR) were calculated. RESULTS: Of all anthropometric measurements examined, only BMI was consistently associated with an increased risk of colon cancer. The test for trend for BMI was significant for men and women overall and for the majority of subgroups examined. In younger persons those with a family history of colorectal cancer had a greater risk of colon cancer associated with BMI (Men odds ratio (OR) = 7.76, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.60, 23.1; Women OR = 4.85, 95% CI 2.33, 10.12) comparing the third tertile to the first, than those with no family history (Men OR = 1.70, 95% CI 1.25, 2.32; Women OR = 1.53, 95% CI 1.22, 1.92). WHR, after controlling for BMI was not associated with colon cancer in men, and was associated with a slight increase in women (primarily in those with distal tumors). CONCLUSION: This study contributes to mounting evidence that excess weight is associated with an increased risk of colon cancer.

Authors: Caan BJ; Coates AO; Slattery ML; Potter JD; Quesenberry CP Jr; Edwards SM

Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1998 Feb;22(2):178-84.

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