Background: The etiology of lymphomas, leukemias, and multiple myeloma is still largely unknown. The known risk factors (ionizing radiation, solvent exposure, pesticide exposure, immunosuppression) explain only a small proportion of the cases that occur.
Methods: We conducted a multicenter population-based case-control study on hematolymphopoietic malignancies in Italy and interviewed 2,011 women (1,183 cases and 828 controls).
Results: There was a suggestion of a positive association between smoking and the risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma + chronic lymphocytic leukemia. A slight increased risk of leukemias was observed among women using permanent hair dye. Housewives were at increased risk for leukemia and multiple myeloma. The risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphomas + chronic lymphocytic leukemia, leukemias, multiple myeloma, and Hodgkin's disease increased among women employed as hairdressers and textile workers. Teachers were at increased risk for non-Hodgkin's lymphomas + chronic lymphocytic leukemia, leukemias, and Hodgkin's disease.
Conclusions: These results confirm previous associations and may provide additional clues to some determinants of hematolymphopoietic malignancies in women.