May 19, 2024

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3 common jobs are associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer

3 common jobs are associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer


3 common jobs are associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer.

According to a study published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, hairdressers, beauticians and accountants may have an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.

The study also suggests that people who work in sales, retail, clothing and construction industries may also have a potential risk.

The study shows that exposure to specific substances such as talc, ammonia, propellant gases, gasoline and bleach may significantly increase the risk of ovarian cancer.


3 common jobs are associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer


There are few modifiable risk factors for ovarian cancer, and environmental factors (including those related to the workplace) may increase the risk of developing the disease, but studies that assess the occupational hazards faced by women are relatively scarce.

And those studies that have been evaluated often do not take into account potential confounders, previous work experience, or have a relatively small number of participants, limiting the results of the study.

To avoid these problems as much as possible, the researchers used the lifetime employment history in a population-based case-control study to explore two aspects of the workplace environment: employment in specific roles or industries; specific occupational exposures.

They included participants from the Quebec Ovarian Cancer Prevention Study (PROVAQ), who were aged between 18 and 79 years old, were diagnosed with epithelial ovarian cancer between 2010 and 2016, and were recruited from seven hospitals in Montreal.

Among these women who met the inclusion criteria for this study, a total of 491 were matched by age and selection area with 897 women who did not have ovarian cancer.

The researchers collected information on all participants’ sociodemographic background, medical history, prescription drugs, reproductive history, weight and height, lifestyle factors and lifetime employment history.

Compared with women in the comparison group, more women with ovarian cancer had lower levels of education, shorter duration of oral contraceptive use, no children or fewer children. These are potential risk factors for developing the disease.

For each job that lasted at least 6 months, participants had to report their job title, start and end dates, working hours (including shift work) and main tasks. Then, the cumulative employment time for each job or industry was divided into never, less than 10 years and 10 years or more. The participants’ exposure to specific agents in the workplace was calculated using the Canadian Job Exposure Matrix (CANJEM), and then the relationship between exposure to 29 common agents and ovarian cancer risk was assessed.

After taking into account potential confounders, the results showed that several job roles may be associated with an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.

Specifically, working as a hairdresser, barber, beautician or related worker for 10 years or more increased the risk of ovarian cancer by three times; working as an accountant for 10 years or more increased the risk of ovarian cancer by one time; working in construction increased the risk of ovarian cancer by nearly three times.

Similarly, long-term employment in the clothing industry (including embroidery) increased the risk by 85%, while working in sales or retail increased the risk by 45% and 59%, respectively.

Among 18 different agents, those with long cumulative exposure time (8 years or more) had a risk that was more than 40% higher than those who were not exposed. These substances include talc, ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, hair dust, synthetic fibers, polyester fibers, organic dyes and pigments, cellulose, formaldehyde, propellant gases, natural chemicals in gasoline and bleach.

Hairdressers, beauticians and related workers were the most common occupations exposed to 13 agents, including ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, organic dyes and pigments and bleach. They were also the second most common occupation exposed to talc.

However, the researchers said that it is not clear whether these associations are caused by a single agent, a combination of agents or other workplace factors.

The researchers acknowledged that there were few women employed in some occupations–papermaking, printing, textile production, dry cleaning, manufacturing–or exposed to specific agents that had been reported as potential risk factors for ovarian cancer–asbestos and pesticides.

They added that given the number of analyses performed, some of the statistically significant associations observed may have been due to chance. They emphasized that further studies are needed to replicate these findings.

Nevertheless, they concluded that their study results “suggest that employment in certain occupations and specific occupational exposures may be associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer”.

Dr. Melissa Friesen and Dr. Laura Beane Freeman from the National Cancer Institute of America wrote in a related commentary: “The current study reminds us that although there is a lack of female representation in occupational cancer research–in fact even potential strategies to address this issue–have been recognized for a long time but there is still room for improvement in studying women’s occupational risks.”

They concluded: “If we exclude women we lose opportunities to identify risk factors for female-specific cancers assess whether there are gender differences in risk and study exposures that occur in occupations primarily performed by women.”




3 common jobs are associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer

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