Groups with assumed health-protective life-styles have been studied for several decades, in search of causes for cancer. We have analyzed cancer incidence, total mortality, and cause-specific mortality in Norwegian teetotalers to assess the possible health gains from an alcohol-abstaining life-style. A cohort of 5332 members of the International Organization of Good Templars was followed for 10 years from 1980. The cancer incidence and the cause-specific mortality of the cohort has been compared to that of the total Norwegian population. The standardized incidence ratio (SIR) for all cancer sites was 74 [95% confidence interval (CI), 64-80] for men and 72 (95% CI, 61-84) for women. For possible alcohol-associated cancers, such as cancer of the oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus, liver, and larynx, the SIR was 43 (95% CI, 17-88) for both sexes combined. For lung cancer the SIR was 57 (95% CI, 37-90) for men and 10 (95% CI, 0-57) for women. When all alcohol- and tobacco-associated cancers were excluded, the SIR for both sexes combined was 79 (95% CI, 69-87). The standardized mortality ratio for total mortality was 81 (95% CI, 65-74). This significant decrease in total mortality was caused by reduced risks for all major causes of death. The study indicates that members of the Norwegian chapter of the International Organization of Good Templars are a low-risk group not only regarding alcohol- and tobacco-associated cancers, but also regarding all other cancers.

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