Dietary relationships with fatal colorectal cancer among Seventh-Day Adventists

J Natl Cancer Inst. 1985 Feb;74(2):307-17.


Associations between fatal colon or colorectal cancer and frequency of use of meat, cheese, milk, eggs, green salad, and coffee, as well as percent desirable weight, are described with the use of 21 years of follow-up for 25,493 white California Seventh-Day Adventists. Associations are presented in terms of relative risk (RR) of colorectal cancer for heavy or light exposure versus rare exposure. There were no clear relationships evident between colon or rectal cancer and meat, cheese, milk, or green salad use. Egg use was positively associated with risk of fatal colon cancer in both males (RR = 1.6) and females (RR = 1.7). Coffee use was positively associated with both colon and rectal cancer mortality in males and females, particularly for colon cancer during the last 11 years of follow-up (male RR = 3.5; female RR = 1.9). Overweight (percent of desirable weight greater than or equal to 125) was associated with an increased risk of fatal rectal cancer in both sexes combined (RR = 2.8) and colon cancer in males only (RR = 3.3). Furthermore, eggs, coffee, and overweight appear to be independently associated with risk of both colon and colorectal cancer. These three factors may explain a substantial portion of the colorectal cancer mortality differential between Adventists and U.S. whites (62% for males; 30% for females).

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Weight
  • Coffee
  • Colonic Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Diet*
  • Diet, Vegetarian
  • Eggs
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meat
  • Middle Aged
  • Rectal Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Rectal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Religion*
  • Risk


  • Coffee