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A case-control study on risk factors of five major cancers in adult Koreans.
Kwang Ho Meng
Unlike in the case of communicable infectious diseases, chronic non-infectious diseases such as cancer can not be controlled by eliminating one specific causative agent because the occurance of these diseases is usually associated with several risk factors. This is why epidemiological studies to identify the risk factors of disease are of great importance in the management of chronic non-infectious diseases and, in fact, many studies of this kinds, particularly for cancer, have been carried out in developed countries since 1960s. Unfortunately, however, there have been very few risk factor studies done so far in Korea. This study was planned to test the risk factors of five cancers such as stomach cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, and famale breast cancer and cervical cancer that had been hypothesized in studies of developed countries whether the risk factors were also significant in adult Koreans. Major findings obtained from this study are as follows : 1. Salty food and the family history of gastric disease death significantly increased the risk of stomach cancer. Adjusted odds ratios of these factors were 1.9 and 2.1 respectively. Those who had not have upper G-1 examinations had also significantly higher risk for stomach cancer than in referent group. 2. For liver cancer, several hypothetical risk factors showed significantly higher risks. They were HBsAg positivity, frequent alcohol intake, family history of liver disease deaths, and the past history of liver fluke infection. The adjusted odds ratio of HBsAg positivity for liver cancer was 23.5. 3. For lung cancer, only smoking was found to be significantly associated, and the adjusted odds ratio was 6.4. 4. Risk of cervical cancer was significantly higher among the women whose formal educational level was 6 years and below, and whose first age at marriage was 19 and lower. Higher parity was also significantly associated with cervical cancer. Those who had not experienced cervical examination had 2.5 times higher risk than those who had periodically had the examination. 5. History of benign breast disease, experience of breast feeding, and high fat diet significantly increased the risk of breast cancer. These study results suggest that much of the five major cancers among adult Koreans were also significantly associated with various bad health behaviors of the people, and this implies that the primary prevention measure of cancer such as health education has to be reinforced together with secondary prevention measure-screening for early diagnosis and treatment.


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