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J Surg Oncol. 1981;17(2):129-33.

Prostate cancer mortality among Catholic priests.


To investigate the possible role of celibate lifestyles in the etiology of prostate cancer, analyses of mortality from cancers of the prostate and other sites among an average annual cohort of 6,226 Roman Catholic clergymen in New York State from 1965 through 1977 were conducted. The death certificates of 1006 (95%) priests were reviewed. Of these 156 deaths were attributable to malignant neoplasms. Clerics experienced mortality ratios of 15% less for all causes of death and 30% less for cancer mortality, given mortality patterns among New York State white males of comparable ages. Twelve deaths from prostatic cancer were observed while 19.8 were expected. This represents a mortality experience significantly less than that of the general noncelibate population. Lower mortality ratios were found also for cancers of the lung, colo-rectum, and stomach. Higher mortality ratios were found for malignant melanoma and unspecified respiratory organs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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