Data on the etiology of hormone-associated cancers are reviewed. Although for breast cancer many risk factors point to the relevance of hormonal factors, findings are not uniform. Evidence points to the importance of dietary factors, and one study appears to confirm an association with high total fat intake. Dietary factors, although possibly mediated through a hormonal mechanism, may eventually be found to play a major role in the etiology of breast cancer.
Studies of both endometrial and ovarian cancer also show the importance of hormonally associated factors, although not always in the same way as for breast cancer. In addition, both for these sites and for cancer of the prostate, dietary factors may also be relevant in their etiology. As yet, no direct assessment of the importance of diet has been attempted for these sites, but this could be rewarding.
Presented at the John E. Fogarty International Center Conference on Hormones and Cancer, March 29 to 31, 1978, Bethesda, Md.