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Br J Cancer. 1995 Apr;71(4):882-7.

Socioeconomic status and colon cancer incidence: a prospective cohort study.

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Department of Epidemiology, University of Limburg, Maastricht, The Netherlands.


The association between socioeconomic status and colon cancer was investigated in a prospective cohort study that started in 1986 in The Netherlands among 120,852 men and women aged 55-69 years. At baseline, data on socioeconomic status, alcohol consumption and other dietary and non-dietary covariates were collected by means of a self-administered questionnaire. For data analysis a case-cohort approach was used, in which the person-years at risk were estimated using a randomly selected subcohort (1688 men and 1812 women). After 3.3 years of follow-up, 312 incident colon cancer cases were detected: 157 men and 155 women. After adjustment for age, we found a positive association between colon cancer risk and highest level of education (trend P = 0.13) and social standing (trend P = 0.008) for men. Also, male, upper white-collar workers had a higher colon cancer risk than blue-collar workers (RR = 1.42, 95% CI 0.95-2.11). Only the significant association between social standing and colon cancer risk persisted after additional adjustment for other risk factors for colon cancer (trend P = 0.005), but the higher risk was only found in the highest social standing category (RR highest/lowest social standing = 2.60, 95% CI 1.31-5.14). In women, there were no clear associations between the socioeconomic status indicators and colon cancer.

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