Objective: To elaborate and describe a large prospective agricultural cohort including males and females in France with various agricultural activities and to study causes of death.
Methods: To date, few large prospective cohorts have been conducted among agricultural population. AGRIculture and CANcer cohort is a large prospective cohort of subjects in agriculture studying cancer among active and retired males and females, farm owners and workers, living in eleven areas of France with a population-based cancer registry.
Results: Enrollment was conducted from 2005 to 2007 with a postal questionnaire. In January 2008, 180,060 individuals (54 % males, 54 % farm owners, 50 % retired) were enrolled. Mortality was studied until December 2009 (605,956 person-years with standardized mortality ratio (SMR) by comparison with the general population of the areas. Over this period, 11,450 deaths 6,741 in men and 4,709 in women were observed, including 3,405 cancer-related deaths. SMRs were significantly reduced for global mortality (SMR = 0.68, 95 % CI 0.67-0.70 in males and SMR = 0.71, 95 % CI 0.69-0.73 in females) and for death by cancer (SMR = 0.67, 95 % CI 0.65, 0.70 in males and SMR = 0.76, 95 % C: 0.71, 0.80 in females). These results were mainly explained by less frequent smoking-related causes of death (lung cancer, cardiovascular diseases). Nonsignificant excesses of death were observed only for rheumatoid arthritis and arthrosis, suicides (in females), death for event of undetermined intent (in males) and breast cancer in male agricultural workers.
Conclusions: These first results are the first ones obtained in France based on a large prospective agricultural cohort showing that farmers would be in healthier condition than the general population.