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Natl Cancer Inst Monogr. 1985 Dec;69:235-45.

Religion and cancer in Los Angeles County.

Abstract

The patterns of cancer risk by religion in the large multidenominational population of Los Angeles County were examined with the method of proportional incidence. Risk estimates for individual cancers by religion were screened and those extreme but stable estimates found were reexamined in light of relative socioeconomic class, nativity, and ethnicity. Within Protestant denominations, gradients which can still best be attributed to religious preference were observed for leukemia, stomach, and cervix cancer. Roman Catholics tend to have high risks of stomach and gallbladder and a low risk of prostate cancer, whereas Eastern Orthodox women trade high risk of stomach cancer for low risk of endometrial and lung cancer. The most extreme pattern of risk, that for Jews, is comprised of lowered risk for cervical cancer and for most sites usually associated with smoking, plus consistently higher risk for lymphomas, thyroid cancer, and bladder cancer among males. Like Jews, Seventh-Day Adventists experience high risk for lymphoma and low risk for cervical and respiratory cancers. Risk to Mormons in Los Angeles differs from that of the standard Protestant population in only minor and inconsistent ways. Neither Mormons nor Adventists showed the previously reported deficits of colorectal or breast cancer. Although the method of proportional incidence may be partly responsible for our failure to confirm previous findings, nonreligious cultural or methodologic factors in the original investigations also provide plausible explanations. More generally, associations of the modest magnitude observed between cancer risk and religion in American populations should probably not be attributed to religious life-style, unless extraordinary circumstances permit the exclusion of other determinants.

PMID:
3834340
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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