Constipation, laxative use and risk of colorectal cancer: The Miyagi Cohort Study

T. Watanabe, N. Nakaya, K. Kurashima, S. Kuriyama, Y. Tsubono, I. Tsuji

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84 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of this study was to investigate the association between constipation or laxative use and the risk of colorectal cancer in Japanese men and women. In 1990, we delivered a self-administered questionnaire to 41 670 subjects who were 40-64 years old. During the seven years of follow-up, 251 incident cases of colorectal cancer were documented. Constipation was defined as a bowel movement frequency of less than daily. The multivariate relative risk (RR) of colorectal cancer for constipated subjects compared with those with daily bowel movements was 1.35 (95% Confidence Interval: 0.99-1.84). The RR for laxative users over non-users was 1.31 (0.88-1.95), and for frequent users (twice a week or more) it was 2.75 (1.48-5.09). When colorectal cancers were divided into colon cancers or rectal cancers, a significant association was found with colon cancer alone. Our results support the hypothesis that constipation or laxative use increases the risk of colon cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2109-2115
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Sept


  • Colorectal cancer
  • Constipation
  • Laxative use
  • Prospective cohort study


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