Occupation as a predictor of prostate cancer screening behaviour in Canada

J Med Screen. 2020 Dec;27(4):215-222. doi: 10.1177/0969141320902485. Epub 2020 Jan 30.


Objectives: If prostate cancer screening practices relate to occupation, this would have important implications when studying the aetiological role of workplace exposures on prostate cancer. We identified variations in screening by occupation among men in Montreal, Canada (2005-2012).

Methods: Prostate specific antigen testing and digital rectal examination (ever-screened and frequency of screening, previous five years) were examined among population controls from the Prostate Cancer & Environment Study. Face-to-face interviews elicited lifestyle and occupational histories. Multivariable logistic regression was used to estimate the odds of ever-screening for the longest-held occupation, adjusting for potential confounders. Negative binomial models were used to examine relationships with screening frequency.

Results: Among 1989 controls, 81% reported ever having had a prostate specific antigen test, and 77% a digital rectal examination. Approximately 40% of men reported having a prostate specific antigen test once a year, on average. Compared with those in management or administrative jobs, men in primary industry (odds ratio 0.26, 95% confidence interval 0.10-0.65), construction (0.44, 0.25-0.79), machining (0.45, 0.21-0.97), and teaching (0.37, 0.20-0.70) were less likely to have undergone prostate specific antigen screening. Results were similar when considering the most recent job.

Conclusions: Our findings highlight substantial variations in prostate cancer screening by occupation. Men in occupations where carcinogen exposures are more common are less likely to participate in prostate screening activities. This could be an important source of bias, and occupational studies of prostate cancer should account for screening practices.

Keywords: Prostate cancer; digital rectal examination; occupation; prostate specific antigen; screening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Digital Rectal Examination / statistics & numerical data*
  • Early Detection of Cancer / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Occupations
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / analysis*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / psychology


  • Prostate-Specific Antigen

Grants and funding