Colon cancer and large bowel function in Denmark and Finland

J H Cummings, W J Branch, L Bjerrum, A Paerregaard, P Helms, R Burton

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Stool weight and transit time through the gut were measured in 4 groups of 30 men, aged 50-59 years, randomly selected from populations in urban (Copenhagen) and rural (Them) Denmark and urban (Helsinki) and rural (Parikkala) Finland. These populations exhibited a 3-4 fold difference in risk for large bowel cancer. Mean transit time (37 +/- 1 hours, Copenhagen; 43 +/- 1 hours, Helsinki; 40 +/- 1 hours, Them; 37 +/- 1 hours, Parikkala) was not significantly different among populations, but average 24-hour stool weights (136 +/- 13 g, Copenhagen; 176 +/- 17 g, Helsinki; 169 +/- 16 g, Them; 196 +/- 15 g, Parikkala) were different and had a significant inverse relationship to total large bowel cancer incidence, with larger stool weights being found in the low-risk population. A high proportion of study subjects, especially in Finland, were found to be taking medication or to have a history of gastrointestinal illness, but neither of these variables related to bowel habit.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNutrition and Cancer
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)61-66
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 1. Jan 1982



  • Colon
  • Colonic Neoplasms
  • Denmark
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Feces
  • Finland
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged

Cite this

Cummings, J. H., Branch, W. J., Bjerrum, L., Paerregaard, A., Helms, P., & Burton, R. (1982). Colon cancer and large bowel function in Denmark and Finland. Nutrition and Cancer, 4(1), 61-66.