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Cancers of the prostate, breast and ovary account for a major proportion of new cancer cases and cancer deaths in the U.S. each year. We conduct population-based epidemiologic field studies aimed at understanding the etiologies of these cancers. The primary focus concerns the joint effects of genetic predisposition and modifiable lifestyle characteristics on cancer risk. We currently are analyzing data from a large case-control study of prostate cancer in black, white and Asian-American men. We are attempting to delineate the effects on prostate cancer risk of diet, body size, physical activity and family history of prostate cancer. We have established population-based registries of families with multiple cases of prostate cancer, and families with multiple cases of breast and/or ovarian cancer. We are using these registries for linkage analysis in search of cancer-susceptibility genes, for the study of gene-environment interactions, and for estimates of the proportions of cancers attributable to specific genes. Our recent research focus has been on developing improved statistical methods for the design and conduct of studies involving hereditary predisposition and modifiable lifestyle characteristics in the etiologies of site-specific cancers.