Environment and Breast Cancer: Science Review

Evidence From Humans
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Dietary habits and breast cancer incidence among Seventh-day Adventists
Mills, P. K., Beeson, W. L., Phillips, R. L., Fraser, G. E. Cancer. 1989. 64:3, 582-90.
Topic area
Diet - Early life exposures
Study design
Prospective cohort
Study Participants
Menopausal Status
The menopausal status of women included in this study is listed here.
Postmenopausal and premenopausal combined and postmenopausal separate
Number in Cohort
cohort 20,341
Cohort participation rate
More than 70% of white participated, thus study wa
Participant selection: Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Criteria used to select participants in the study.
In: Seventh-day adventist women, 25 years or older in the Seventh Day Adventist Study
Comment about participation selection
Unexplained discrepancy between respondent cohort (35,000) and final participant cohort (20,341); high degree of variation in dietary habits among participants
Exposure Investigated
Exposures investigated
Animal fat, whole milk
How exposure was measured
Questionnaire, self-administered, FFQ
Exposure assessment comment
FFQ is not sufficiently detailed
Statistical Analysis
Ethnic groups with separate analysis
If this study provided a separate analysis by ethnic or racial group, the groups are listed here.
Non-hispanic white Americans
Confounders considered
Other breast cancer risk factors, such as family history, age at first birth, and hormone replacement therapy use, that were taken into account in the study.
Not considered: Parity, alcohol intake
Genetic characterization included
If the study analyzed relationships between environmental factors and inherited genetic variations, this field will be marked “Yes.” “No”, if not.
Description of major analysis
Adjusted RR with 95% CI; animal fat: higher versus lower quartile of intake of calories from animal fat; whole milk: highest versus lowest tertile of intake; interaction with all cross-product term; subgroup for postmenopausal women; follow-up 6 years.
Strength of associations reported
Premenopausal and postmenopausal combined: Animal fat: 1.21 (0.81-1.81), whole milk: 0.94 (0.66-1.33)
Postmenopausal: whole milk: 0.98 (0.66 - 1.45)
Results Comments
The relationship between quartiles of animal fat and milk and breast cancer risk was very weak.
Author address
Department of Preventive Medicine, Loma Linda University, California.