In order to test the hypothesis that Roman Catholic priests are at low risk for prostatic cancer because of their celibacy, a cohort of 10,026 men who were active or retired diocesan (parish) Roman Catholic priests in the United States on January 1, 1949 were followed until death, leaving the priesthood, or January 1, 1978. The overall standardized mortality ratio (SMR) was 103 and the SMR for cancer of the prostate was 81. Other interesting findings include increased SMRs for cancer of the larynx (147), cirrhosis of the liver (147), and diabetes (182) and decreased SMRs for lung cancer (59), emphysema (26), and suicide (13). © 1988.
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