High-risk occupations for breast cancer in the Swedish female working population

Am J Public Health. 1999 Jun;89(6):875-81. doi: 10.2105/ajph.89.6.875.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to estimate, for the period 1971 through 1989, occupation-specific risks of breast cancer among Swedish women employed in 1970.

Methods: Age-period standardized incidence ratios were computed. Log-linear Poisson models were fitted, with geographical area and town size taken into account. Risks were further adjusted for major occupational group, used as a proxy for socioeconomic status. Risk estimators were also calculated for women reporting the same occupation in 1960 and 1970.

Results: Most elevated risks among professionals, managers, and clerks were reduced when intragroup comparisons were carried out, indicating the confounding effect of socioeconomic status. Excess risks were found for pharmacists, teachers of theoretical subjects, schoolmasters, systems analysts and programmers, telephone operators, telegraph and radio operators, metal platers and coaters, and hairdressers and beauticians, as well as for women working in 1960 and 1970 as physicians, religious workers, social workers, bank tellers, cost accountants, and telephonists.

Conclusions: While the high risks observed among professional, administrative, and clerical workers might be related to lower birth rates and increased case detection, excess risks found for telephone workers and for hairdressers and beauticians deserve further attention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Linear Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Occupations / statistics & numerical data*
  • Population Surveillance
  • Risk
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Women, Working*