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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2005 May;14(5):1212-8.

Oral contraceptive use, reproductive factors, and colorectal cancer risk: findings from Wisconsin.

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UW Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center, WARF Building Room 305, 610 Walnut Street, Madison, WI 53726, USA.


We investigated the association of oral contraceptive (OC) use and reproductive factors with colorectal cancer risk in a large population-based case-control study. Cases were women ages 20 to 74 years, living in Wisconsin, with a new diagnosis of colon (n = 1,122) or rectal (n = 366) cancer. Control participants were randomly selected from population lists of similarly aged female Wisconsin residents (n = 4,297). Risk factor information was collected through structured telephone interviews. Compared with never users, OC users had an odds ratio (OR) of 0.89 [95% confidence interval (95% CI), 0.75-1.06] for colorectal cancer. OC use associations did not differ significantly between colon and rectal cancer sites; however, when compared with never users, recent OC users (<14 years) seemed at reduced risk of rectal cancer (OR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.28-1.00). Women with age at first birth older than the median (23 years) had 0.83 times the risk of colon cancer compared with women with age at first birth below the median (95% CI, 0.70-0.98). We observed an inverse trend between increasing parity and rectal cancer risk (P = 0.05). Compared with nulliparous women, women with five or more births had 0.66 times the risk of rectal cancer (95% CI, 0.43-1.02). Compared with postmenopausal women, premenopausal women were at reduced risk (OR, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.47-0.97) of colorectal cancer. No significant associations were observed between colorectal cancer risk and age at menarche or age at menopause. These findings suggest differential roles of reproductive factors in colon and rectal cancer etiology.

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