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Keywords:

  • causes;
  • attributable risk;
  • occupational cancer;
  • confounders

Abstract

Background

The recognition of occupational cancers is often hampered by confusion between the individual determinants of the disease and effects at the group level.

Methods

Here we propose an approach, based on the evaluation of the attributable risk at the group level, that provides quantitative estimates of the roles of multiple causes in individuals affected of cancer within a population exposed to occupational risk.

Results

The estimate of individual probability can be easily obtained computing the attributable risk. This can be often achieved by using the existing information available in the literature.

Conclusions

Dismissing the occupation as a cause of a cancer in an exposed subject on the sole basis of potential confounding is erroneous and should be withdrawn from medical practice. Am. J. Ind. Med. 53:1002–1005, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.