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Cancer Causes Control. 1997 Nov;8(6):894-903.

Parity and other reproductive factors and risk of adenomatous polyps of the distal colorectum (United States).

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Evidence for an effect of reproductive factors on colorectal carcinogenesis is inconsistent and little is known about their role in development of precursor adenomatous polyps. We evaluated the relation between reproductive factors and distal colorectal adenomas (n = 982) during 14 years of follow up of 26,983 participants in the Nurses' Health Study (United States). The women were free of diagnosed cancer or polyps in 1980, underwent endoscopy 1980-94, and had reported on their parity, oral contraceptive (OC) use, and ages at menarche, first term-pregnancy, and menopause. We calculated relative risks (RR) and 95 percent confidence intervals (CI) using multiple logistic regression. Women with higher parity had an increased risk of adenomas of the distal colorectum (P trend = 0.004; 6+ cf 0 parity: RR = 1.3, CI = 0.9-1.8) or distal colon (P trend = 0.002, RR = 1.7, CI = 1.2-2.6). This association was significantly stronger among women with a family history of colorectal cancer (P interaction = 0.03); comparing 6+ term-pregnancies with nulliparity, among those with a family history, the RR for distal colon adenoma was 3.2 (CI = 1.4-7.2), while among those without a family history, the RR was 1.3 (CI = 0.8-2.2). We observed no association for distal colorectal adenoma and age at menarche, age at first term-pregnancy, ever use of OCs, or menopausal status. Further work is needed to clarify the relation of parity with colon adenoma risk.

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