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Am J Epidemiol. 1988 Mar; 127(3): 440-53.

Animal product consumption and subsequent fatal breast cancer risk among Seventh-day Adventists.

Mills PK, Annegers JF, Phillips RL.

Department of Preventive Medicine, Loma Linda University, CA 92350.

Seventh-day Adventist women experience lower mortality rates from breast cancer than other white females in the United States. To evaluate the role of diet in relation to breast cancer within this unique population (more than one-half of all Adventist women are lacto-ovo-vegetarians), a nested case-control study was conducted including 142 cases of fatal breast cancer and 852 matched controls among California Seventh-day Adventist women in 1960-1980. No significant relations between the consumption of animal products (meat, milk, cheese, and eggs) and breast cancer were evident. Odds ratios of 1.00, 1.22, and 1.03 were observed for meat consumption categories of none or occasional, 1-3 days/week, and 4+ days/week, respectively. However, among those women who experienced a relatively early age at natural menopause (less than or equal to 48 years), a suggestive though nonsignificant, positive association between meat consumption and risk was noted. These relations remained unchanged after simultaneously controlling for the effects of other covariates (menstrual characteristics and obesity) via conditional logistic regression analysis. Risk was not related to age at first exposure to the vegetarian lifestyle nor to duration of exposure to the vegetarian lifestyle.

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