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Cancer risk among male farmers: a multi-site case-control study
Linköping University, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
National Institute of Health, Rome, Italy.
Local Health Unit, Asti, Italy.
Local Health Unit, Pistoia, Italy.
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2001 (English)In: International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, ISSN 1232-1087, Vol. 14, no 4, 339-348 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Farmers may experience exposure to several hazardous substances, and cancer risk in this occupational group is considered an important public health issue.

In order to examine the association between cancer and farming among male agricultural workers, a hospital-based case-control study was conducted in five Italian rural areas. The cancer sites selected for the study were: lip, oral cavity and oropharynx, oesophagus, stomach, colon, rectum, lung, skin melanoma, skin non-melanoma, prostate, bladder, kidney, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. In all, 1525 newly diagnosed cases, aged 20-75 years, were ascertained in hospital records, covering the period between March 1990 and September 1992, and for 1279 of them, a detailed exposure information was collected by a standard questionnaire. Data analyses were performed comparing each cancer site to a control group, including a subset of the other cancer sites in the study. Unconditional logistic regression models were used in the statistical analyses.

Increased risks of cancer associated with agricultural work were found for stomach (OR = 1.4, 95%CI:0.9-2.0), rectum (OR = 1.5, 95%CI:0.8-2.7), larynx (OR = 1.4, 95%CI:0.8-2.5), and prostate (OR = 1.4, 95%CI:1.0-2.1). The excess of prostate cancer was specifically related to application of pesticides (OR = 1.7, 95%CI:1.2-2.6).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2001. Vol. 14, no 4, 339-348 p.
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-25779PubMedID: 11885917Local ID: 10214OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-25779DiVA: diva2:246327
Available from: 2009-10-08 Created: 2009-10-08 Last updated: 2012-10-15Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Cancer risks and immunological effects in agriculture
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Cancer risks and immunological effects in agriculture
2003 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In general, farmers and agricultural workers are characterized by relatively low mortality rates when considering all causes of death and deaths due to all types of cancer. However, several studies have shown that this occupational category tend to be at increased risks of developing the following forms of malignancies: leukaemia, lymphomas, multiple myeloma, and cancers of the skin, lip, prostate, stomach, brain, and connective tissue. Although the reported excesses have not been consistent in different studies, they nevertheless suggest that agricultural exposures, especially pesticides, contribute to cancer aetiology through different mechanisms of action. It has been hypothesised that immunotoxic effects may play a role, since most of the malignancies found to be increased in workers employed in agriculture are also elevated in patients suffering from innnunodeficiencies. The present studies were conducted to ascertain whether agricultural activities and exposures influence the risk of developing cancer, and to evaluate the innnunological effects of phenoxy herbicides as possibly important for the aetiology of lymphomas.

Different types of cancer were considered in relation to farming in two case-control studies, focused one on men and the other on women. A decreased risk of postmenopausal breast cancer (odds ratio [OR] 0.4) and an excess of skin melanoma (OR 2.7) and bladder cancer (OR 2.7) were observed in the women. The main finding in the men was an excess of prostate cancer (OR 1.5). Further analyses showed that this malignancy was associated with exposure to chlorinated compounds (OR 2.5), and, more specifically, to DDT (OR 2.1) and dicofol and tetradifon (OR 2.8).

Mortality in selected groups of farmers and their relatives was investigated in two cohort studies. Farmers and their wives showed reduced mortality from all causes and all cancers although there was a tendency towards increased risk of leukaemia, particularly among wives of pesticide users (standardised mortality ratio [SMR] 2.4). Adult sons and daughters of green-house owners exhibited increased mortality from all types of cancer (SMR 1.9).

A study was also performed to compare pre- and post-exposure values of selected immunological parameters in a group of ten farmers exposed to phenoxy herbicides. The most notable fmdings were reduced levels of the following: circulating natural killer (NK) cells (-38%), NK cytotoxic activity (-53%), and lymphocyte response to mitogenic stimulation (-50%).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet, 2003. 49 p.
Series
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 779
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-26668 (URN)11234 (Local ID)91-7373-538-8 (ISBN)11234 (Archive number)11234 (OAI)
Public defence
2003-04-08, Aulan, Hälsans hus, Universitetssjukhuset, Linköping, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Available from: 2009-10-08 Created: 2009-10-08 Last updated: 2012-10-15Bibliographically approved

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