Objective: Cancer has been recognized to have environmental origin, but occupational cancer risk studies have not been fully documented. The objective of this paper was to identify occupations and industries with elevated colon cancer risk based on lifetime occupational histories collected from 15,463 incident cancer cases.
Method: A group matched case-control design was used. All cases were diagnosed with histologically proven colon cancers, with cancer controls being all other cancer sites, excluding rectum, lung and unknown primary, diagnosed at the same period of time from the British Columbia Cancer Registry. Data analyses were done on all 597 Canadian standard occupation titles and 1,104 standard industry titles using conditional logistic regression for matched data sets and the likelihood ratio test.
Results: Excess colon cancer risks was observed in a number of occupations and industries, particularly those with low physical activity and those involving exposure to asbestos, wood dusts, engine exhaust and diesel engine emissions, and ammonia.
Discussion: The results of our study are in line with those from the literature and further suggest that exposure to wood dusts and to ammonia may carry an increased occupational risk of colon cancer.
Keywords: cancer risk; carcinogen; colon cancer; occupational cancer; occupational exposure.