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Am J Epidemiol. 1981 Nov;114(5):714-24.

Dietary vitamin C and uterine cervical dysplasia.


A case-control study of women with cervical abnormalities identified through Pap smears, was conducted in the Bronx, New York, to explore the relationship between nutritional intake and cervical dysplasia. Nutrient intake was estimated from computer analysis of three-day food records and 24-hour recall for 169 study participants (87 cases, 82 controls), including a subset of 49 pairs matched for age, race and parity. Mean vitamin C intake per day from three-day food record for controls was 107 mg, compared to 80 mg for cases (p less than 0.01). Analysis of matched pairs showed similar results; 29% of cases compared to 3% of controls in matched subset had vitamin C intake less than 50% of the recommended daily allowance, yielding a ten-fold increase in risk of cervical dysplasia as estimated by odds ratio (p less than 0.05). Younger age, greater frequency of sexual intercourse and younger age at first intercourse were associated with higher risk of cervical dysplasia. Multiple logistic analyses indicated that low vitamin C intake is an independent contributor to risk of severe cervical dysplasia when age and sexual activity variables are controlled. Approximately 35% of US women in their reproductive years have daily vitamin C intake below 30 mg, and 68% have vitamin C intake below 88 mg. If other studies confirm these findings, it may be important to explore a possible protective role of supplementary vitamin C for women at high risk of cervical cancer.

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