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Int J Epidemiol. 1993 Dec;22(6):1000-9.

The influence of medical conditions associated with hormones on the risk of breast cancer.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Medicine, NYU Medical Center, NY 10010-2598.

Erratum in

  • Int J Epidemiol 1994 Dec;23(6):1330.


Medical conditions related to hormonal abnormalities were investigated in a case-control study of breast cancer among women who attended a screening centre. Information was obtained by telephone interview regarding physician-diagnosed medical conditions such as thyroid or liver diseases, diabetes, and hypertension, as well as hirsutism, acne, galactorrhoea, and reproductive, menstrual, and gynaecological factors. Results are presented for 354 cases and 747 controls. Women with fertility problems who never succeeded in becoming pregnant were at significantly increased breast cancer risk (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 3.5; 95% confidence interval [CI]:1.1-10.9). An elevated cancer risk was also associated with having excess body hair (OR = 1.5; 95% CI:1.0-2.3), or having excess body hair in addition to persistent adult acne (OR = 6.8; 95% CI:1.7-27.1). Recurrent amenorrhea (OR = 3.5; 95% CI:1.1-11.5), and a treated hyperthyroid condition (OR = 2.2; 95% CI:1.1-4.4) were significantly associated with risk. A non-significant elevation of risk was present for endometrial hyperplasia (OR = 1.8; 95% CI: 0.8-4.0). There was a suggestion of an association between a history of galactorrhoea and breast cancer risk (OR = 2.0; 95% CI:0.8-4.9) among premenopausal women. No associations were found with other medical or gynaecological factors. The possibility that some of these findings are due to chance cannot be excluded because of the problem of multiple comparisons.

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