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Keywords:

  • pancreatic cancer;
  • job titles;
  • etiology;
  • case-referent study;
  • work-related diseases;
  • mail questionnaire;
  • surrogate responders

Abstract

An examination of the risk of pancreatic cancer associated with occupation, by industrial branch and job title, was undertaken in a nationwide case-referent study in Finland. The results are based on job history information from the next-of-kin of 625 incident cases of primary malignant exocrinic pancreatic neoplasms, and of 1,700 cancer referents (stomach, colon, and rectum). All cases and referents were between 40 and 74 years at diagnosis. The diagnoses were made in 1984-87, and both cases and referents were known to be dead by April 1, 1990. The source of the cases and referents was the Finnish Cancer Registry. Increases in risk of pancreatic cancer were suggested for a small number of industrial branches and job titles, including stone mining (odds ratio 3.7), cement and building materials (11.1), pharmacists and sales associates in pharmacies (12.9), male wood machinists (4.1), male gardeners (6.7), female textile workers (5.4), and male transport inspectors and supervisors (9.4). The exposures potentially implicated are discussed. In agreement with the overall results of epidemiologic studies conducted elsewhere, direct occupational determinants probably do not account for a substantial share of the etiology of pancreatic cancer, at least in conditions resembling Finnish working environments some 15-40 years ago.