Socioeconomic factors in cancer in Sweden

Int J Cancer. 2003 Jul 10;105(5):692-700. doi: 10.1002/ijc.11150.


It is well known that certain cancers have shown clustering in socioeconomic groups, but limited data are available on recent results and time trends in such clustering. We determined standardized incidence ratios (SIR) for cancer, adjusted for age, period, region, parity and age at first childbirth among men and women in 6 socioeconomic groups based on the Swedish Family-Cancer Database. Persons had to be identified with the same socioeconomic status in the census of years 1960 and 1970, or of years 1960, 1970 and 1980; the comparison group was all people according to the same censuses. Cancers were followed from years 1970 to 1998 or from 1980 to 1998. Both increased and decreased SIRs were found, and a consistent pattern emerged, although the overall SIRs for cancer did not differ much, the lowest being for farmers (0.85) and the highest for professional men (1.07) and women (1.11). At individual sites, manual workers were at risk of tobacco-, alcohol- and occupation- and human papilloma virus-related cancers and at a decreased risk at most other cancers. Manual workers and farmers showed an excess of stomach cancer; professionals had an excess of melanoma and squamous cell skin cancer. Male and female SIRs correlated highly for manual and blue-collar workers and for professionals. The overall population-attributable fraction for selected sites was 16.7% for men and 10.9% for women and it was highest, over 50%, for lung cancer in both genders.

MeSH terms

  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / epidemiology
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Marriage
  • Neoplasms / economics
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology
  • Occupations
  • Organ Specificity
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Registries
  • Reproductive History
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Class
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sweden / epidemiology