Nurses' Health Study


The Nurses' Health Study (NHS) was established by Dr. Frank Speizer in 1976, primarily to investigate the potential long-term consequences of the use of oral contraceptives. Questionnaires were mailed to 170,000 registered nurses, 122,000 of whom responded. Follow-up questionnaires were mailed every two years, asking about diseases and health-related topics such as smoking, hormone use, and menopausal status. In 1980, the first food frequency questionnaire was sent (with subsequent questionnaires in 1984, 1986, and every 4 years since), prompted by the recognition that diet and nutrition would play important roles in development of chronic diseases. Other topics included in the questionnaires include disease outcomes, medication use (prescription and over-the-counter), and environmental and supplement use. Researchers working with the NHS have published articles concerning the effects of hormone replacement therapy on endometrial cancer risk and the impact of weight on breast, colorectal, kidney, and endometrial cancer risk, among other topics.

Selected References


Chan AT, Tranah GJ, Giovannucci EL, Hunter DJ, Fuchs CS. Genetic variants in the UGT1A6 enzyme, aspirin use, and the risk of colorectal adenomaExternal Web Site Policy. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2005 Mar 16;97(6):457-60. Erratum in: J Natl Cancer Inst. 2005 Aug 17;97(16):1227.

Tworoger SS, Missmer SA, Barbieri RL, Willett WC, Colditz GA, Hankinson SE. Plasma sex hormone concentrations and subsequent risk of breast cancer among women using postmenopausal hormonesExternal Web Site Policy. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2005 Apr 20;97(8):595-602.

Chan AT, Giovannucci EL, Meyerhardt JA, Schernhammer ES, Curhan GC, Fuchs CS. Long-term use of aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and risk of colorectal cancerExternal Web Site Policy. JAMA. 2005 Aug 24;294(8):914-23.

Zhang SM, Hankinson SE, Hunter DJ, Giovannucci EL, Colditz GA, Willett WC. Folate intake and risk of breast cancer characterized by hormone receptor statusExternal Web Site Policy. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2005 Aug;14(8):2004-8.

Eliassen AH, Colditz GA, Rosner B, Willett WC, Hankinson SE. Serum lipids, lipid-lowering drugs, and the risk of breast cancerExternal Web Site Policy. Arch Intern Med. 2005 Oct 24;165(19):2264-71.


Kroenke CH, Fung TT, Hu FB, Holmes MD. Dietary patterns and survival after breast cancer diagnosisExternal Web Site Policy. J Clin Oncol. 2005 Dec 20;23(36):9295-303.

Holmes MD, Chen WY, Feskanich D, Kroenke CH, Colditz GA. Physical activity and survival after breast cancer diagnosisExternal Web Site Policy. JAMA. 2005 May 25;293(20):2479-86.

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