Identification of Occupational Cancer Risks in British Columbia: A Population-Based Case-Control Study of 995 Incident Breast Cancer Cases by Menopausal Status, Controlling for Confounding Factors

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Abstract

Lifetime occupational histories as well as information on known and suspected breast cancer risk factors were collected by means of a self-administered questionnaire from 1018 women with incident breast cancer ascertained from the British Columbia Cancer Registry, and from 1020 population controls. A matched case-control study design was used. Conditional logistic regression for matched sets data and the likelihood ratio were used in a two-step procedure and were performed separately for pre-menopausal women, post-menopausal women, and for all cases combined. Excess risk was noted for several white-collar occupations. Significantly increased risk was observed: (1) among pre-menopausal women: in electronic data-processing operators; barbers and hairdressers; in sales and material processing occupations; and in the food, clothing, chemical and transportation industries; (2) among post-menopausal women: in schoolteaching; in medicine, health, and nursing occupations; in laundry and dry-cleaning occupations; and in the aircraft and automotive, including gasoline service station, industries. Several significant associations were also seen in the combined group of pre- and post-menopausal women, particularly in crop farmers and in the fruit and vegetable, publishing and printing, and motor vehicle repair industries. The results of this study suggest excess breast cancer risk in a number of occupations and industries, notably those that entail exposure to solvents and pesticides.

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