Environment and Breast Cancer: Science Review

Evidence From Humans
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Occupational physical activity and breast cancer risk in the Upper Cape Cod Cancer Incidence Study
Coogan, P.F.,, Aschengrau, A. American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 1999. 36, 279-285.
Topic area
Physical Activity
Study design
Population based case-control
Funding agency
Other: Massachusetts Department of Environmental P
Study Participants
Number of Cases
233 (31 pre) (202 post)
Menopausal Status
The menopausal status of women included in this study is listed here.
Pre menopausal
Post menopausal
Number of Controls
Control: 670 (57 pre) (613 post)
Participant selection: Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Criteria used to select participants in the study.
In: permanent residents of the five Upper Cape Cod towns (Barnstable, Bourne, Falmouth, Mashpee and Sandwich); reported to the Massachusetts Cancer Registry from 1983 through 1986 (cases); listed telephone number (controls under age 65); Medicare beneficiary supplied by Health Care Finance Administration (HCFA) (controls age 65 or older); deceased controls randomly selected from a listing of all deaths Ex: could not be located; refused interview; controls who did not share any strata of age, vital status or year of death with cases; women with missing occupational information; women with jobs that could not be categorized by activity level; women who never worked outside the home
Comment about participation selection
Strengths: population based case-control; fairly large study; analyzed breast cancer risk by occupational physical activity; exposure was based on lifetime occupational history Limitations: conducted telephone interviews; occupational physical activity was coded by occupation; participants were mostly postmenopausal therefore, results could not be stratified by menopausal status; could not isolate a group with very heavy occupational physical activity; did not obtain information on recreational physical activity; residual confounding by other breast cancer risk factors may have affected the results
Exposure Investigated
Exposures investigated
Lack of occupational physical activity
How exposure was measured
Questionnaire, by telephone
Exposure assessment comment
Occupational physical activity was coded by occupation
Ethnic groups with separate analysis
If this study provided a separate analysis by ethnic or racial group, the groups are listed here.
Confounders considered
Other breast cancer risk factors, such as family history, age at first birth, and hormone replacement therapy use, that were taken into account in the study.
Adequately controlled, Confounders: vital status, education, total duration of work in years, parity, age at first birth, age at menarche, family history of breast cancer, personal history of benign breast disease, prior breast cancer, marital status, his
Genetic characterization included
If the study analyzed relationships between environmental factors and inherited genetic variations, this field will be marked “Yes.” “No”, if not.
Results Comments
Women who held jobs of light or medium/heavy activity had no reduction in breast cancer risk compared to women who held exclusively sedentary jobs