Environment and Breast Cancer: Science Review

Evidence From Humans
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High-risk occupations for breast cancer in the Swedish female working population
Pollan, M., Gustavsson, P. American Journal of Public Health. 1999. 89:6, 875-81.
Topic area
Environmental pollutant
Study design
Retrospective cohort of 1970 population
Study Participants
Number of Cases
29,284 cases
Menopausal Status
The menopausal status of women included in this study is listed here.
Pre menopausal
Post menopausal
Number in Cohort
Cohort:: 1,101,669
Participant selection: Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Criteria used to select participants in the study.
Swedish women gainfully employed in 1970 who were also in Sweden in 1960, were alive and 24-64 years in 1971 compared with European population.
Exposure Investigated
Exposures investigated
Work in specific job category
Exposure assessment comment
Nature of chemical exposures is mostly unknown.
Statistical Analysis
Breast cancer outcome investigated
Primary breast cancer from 1971-1989
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.
Geographic area, urbanicity, age, time period, occupation group as a proxy for socioeconomic status. Inadequate control for breast cancer risk factors.
Genetic characterization included
If the study analyzed relationships between environmental factors and inherited genetic variations, this field will be marked “Yes.” “No”, if not.
Description of major analysis
Standardized incidence ratio based on Poisson distribution
Strength of associations reported
Elevated risk for professional, technical staff
Among jobs with likely chemical exposures
Hairdresser, beautician compared with other occupations in same group: RR1.21 (1.08-1.37)
Hairdresser, beautician in both 1960 and 1970: RR1.27 (1.11-1.47)
Metal plater, coater compared with other occupations in same group: RR 2.14 (1.21-3.77)
Pharmacist compared with other occupations in same job group: RR 1.21 (1.07-1.64)
Results Comments
Comparison to others workers in job group mitigates healthy worker effect and confounding by breast cancer risk factors.
Author address
Cancer Epidemiology Unit, National Centre for Epidemiology, Carlos III Institute of Health, Madrid, Spain. mpollan@isciii.es