D SDA Studies Outside the US Denmark Netherlands and Norway

As noted, several studies concerning diet and cancer risk have been conducted among SDAs in the U.S., where about 600,000 SDAs reside. The worldwide population of SDAs is approximately 3 million, and additional studies of SDAs residing outside of the U.S. have also been conducted. For example, in the Netherlands, patterns of mortality in approximately 4000 SDAs were evaluated during a 10-year study period between 1968 and 1977. Cancer of the colon and rectum (SMR = 0.43), lung (SMR = 0.45), and breast (SMR = 0.50) were all significantly lower in the SDA population than expected. (See Figure 4.11.) However, in the SDA group, pancreas cancer showed a threefold elevation that was not statistically significant.35

Figure 4.11 Standardized mortality ratios for cancer in Dutch SDA, 1968-1977, (Berkel,1983).

In Norway, 7253 SDAs were followed between 1961 and 1986 and monitored for cancer diagnoses. The Standardized Incidence Ratios (SIR) were divided into two groups: those under 75 years of age and those greater than 75 years of age. Only the SIR for lung cancer in those less

Cancer Site

Figure 4.12 Standardized incidence ratios for Norwegian SDAs, 1961-1986, by site and age group (Fonnebo,1991).

Cancer Site

Figure 4.12 Standardized incidence ratios for Norwegian SDAs, 1961-1986, by site and age group (Fonnebo,1991).

than 75 years was significantly decreased in the SDAs, in comparison with the general Norwegian population.36 (See Figure 4.12.) The authors note that the cancer incidence rate is quite low in the general Norwegian population and due to this low "background" risk, it may be difficult to detect further departures in cancer risk associated with lifestyle habits.

In 1983, Jensen reported on cancer morbidity in male SDA members in Copenhagen for the years 1943 to 1977. In addition, results were presented for members of other (i.e., non-SDA) temperance society members. The SIR was significantly lower in the SDAs for all cancers and for lung and colon cancer. Incidence of lymphatic and hematopoietic cancers was increased but not significantly so (see Figure 4.13). Interestingly, cancer incidence among members of the other temperance society was not substantially different from the general population.37

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