Linking population-based survey and cancer registry data to examine the association between behaviours consistent with cancer prevention recommendations and cancer risk in Ontario

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Stephanie Young Ying Wang Mohammad Haque Julie Klein-Geltink Elisa Candido Beatrice Boucher Shelley Harris Alice Peter Michelle Cotterchio
Published online: Aug 30, 2018

Certain subject behaviours and characteristics increase the risk of some cancer types (e.g., obesity, alcohol intake) while others reduce cancer risk (e.g., physical activity). In 2007, the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) published recommendations to reduce cancer risk related to these behaviours.

Objectives and Approach
The objective is to examine the association between self-reported behaviour consistent with WCRF/AICR recommendations for body fatness, physical activity, vegetable/fruit consumption, and alcohol intake and the risk of all cancers combined and specific cancer types. The study cohort, comprised of the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) Ontario sample, will be linked with health administrative databases, including the Ontario Cancer Registry to determine cancer outcomes. Individuals will be assessed for behaviours consistent with WCRF/AICR recommendations based on their responses to CCHS questions and the association of these behaviours with cancer risk will be explored using multivariable Cox proportional hazard regression models.

To detect a log hazard ratio of 1.10 (where a=0.05, power=0.80, proportion of the sample assigned to the exposure group=0.25 and R2=0.20), a sample size of 4,538 is required. Based on the number of records in the CCHS data frame (159,474) and an assumption that the CCHS sample experiences cancer incidence at a similar rate to the rest of the Ontario population, we expect to have 5,000 cancer cases for these analyses. Upon completion of the analysis, we will report hazard ratios that estimate the difference in cancer risk between individuals reporting behaviour consistent with the WCRF/AICR recommendations and those reporting behaviour not consistent with the recommendations.

WCRF/AICR recommendations were developed as the basis for primary cancer prevention, both for individuals and population-wide policies and programs. The current study will quantify the difference in overall cancer risk between individuals who do and do not adhere to selected WCRF/AICR recommendations for the first time in a Canadian population.

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