Cancer in the Sami population of North Norway, 1970-1997

T. Haldorsen, T. Tynes

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    28 Scopus citations


    The Sami population in North Norway constitutes an ethnic minority with a lifestyle that diverges from that of the rest of the population. A cohort of 19 801 people of Sami origin was followed for cancer incidence over the period 1970-1997 by the Norwegian Cancer Registry. Among the Sami 1340 cases of cancer were observed versus 1658.2 expected, based on a regional reference population. For both sexes a significantly decreased incidence of colon cancer was observed. The standardized incidence ratio (SIR) for men was 0.50 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.34-0.71) and for women 0.62 (95% CI 0.43-0.85). Low SIRs were observed for lung cancer: 0.63 (95% CI 0.51-0.77) and 0.60 (95% CI 0.37-0.91), for men and women, respectively. Men of Sami ancestry had a decreased risk of prostate cancer: SIR 0.57 (95% CI 0.45-0.71). Among women 127 cases of breast cancer were observed versus 149.6 expected. A relatively high physical activity and a diet rich in fish may in part explain the low cancer incidence. Some Sami were exposed to radioactivity as a result of their diet based on reindeer products. Adverse effects on their cancer incidence were not observed.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)63-68
    Number of pages6
    JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer Prevention
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Feb 1 2005


    • Arctic populations
    • Cohort studies
    • Colon cancer
    • Diet
    • Ethnicity
    • Ionizing radiation
    • Neoplasms
    • Prostate cancer

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Epidemiology
    • Oncology
    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
    • Cancer Research

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