Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 10, Issue 5, pp 387–396 | Cite as

Diet and risk of colorectal cancer in a cohort of Finnish men

  • Pirjo Pietinen
  • Nea Malila
  • Mikko Virtanen
  • Terryl J. Hartman
  • Joseph A. Tangrea
  • Demetrius Albanes
  • Jarmo Virtamo


Objectives: Based on previous epidemiological studies, high fat and meat consumption may increase and fiber, calcium, and vegetable consumption may decrease the risk of colorectal cancer. We sought to address these hypotheses in a male Finnish cohort.

Methods: We analyzed data from the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study (ATBC Study) where 27, 111 male smokers completed a validated dietary questionnaire at baseline. After an average of 8 years of follow-up, we documented 185 cases of colorectal cancer. The analyses were carried out using the Cox proportional hazards model.

Results: The relative risk (RR) for men in the highest quartile of calcium intake compared with men in the lowest quartile was 0.6 (95% CI 0.4–0.9, p for trend 0.04). Likewise, the intake of milk protein and the consumption of milk products was inversely associated with risk of colorectal cancer. However, intake of dietary fiber was not associated with risk, nor was fat intake. Consumption of meat or different types of meat, and fried meat, fruits or vegetables were not associated with risk.

Conclusions: In this cohort of men consuming a diet high in fat, meat, and fiber and low in vegetables, high calcium intake was associated with lowered risk of colorectal cancer.

calcium colorectal cancer diet fat fiber meat 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pirjo Pietinen
    • 1
  • Nea Malila
    • 1
  • Mikko Virtanen
    • 1
  • Terryl J. Hartman
    • 2
  • Joseph A. Tangrea
    • 2
  • Demetrius Albanes
    • 2
  • Jarmo Virtamo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NutritionNational Public Health InstituteHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Division of Clinical SciencesNational Cancer Institute, CIHBethesdaUSA

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