Early detection of prostate cancer in firefighters: a register-based study of prognostic factors and survival

Occup Environ Med. 2022 Mar;79(3):200-206. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2021-107622. Epub 2021 Sep 11.


Objectives: To examine age at diagnosis, prognostic factors and survival of prostate cancer (PCa) in Norwegian firefighters and three other occupations undergoing occupational health check-ups, and comparing with PCa cases in the general population.

Methods: All PCa cases diagnosed in 1960-2017 were extracted from the Cancer Registry of Norway. Firefighters, military employees, pilots and police officers were identified through occupational data from Statistics Norway. Age at diagnosis, clinical stage, prostate-specific antigen (PSA), Gleason score, performance status and overall survival and PCa-specific survival in cases in these occupations were compared with cases in the general population.

Results: Firefighters were significantly younger at PCa diagnosis than cases in the general population in 1960-1993 (mean difference: 2.1 years) and 2007-2017 (mean difference: 4.3 years). At diagnosis, firefighters had significantly lower PSA values, Gleason scores and performance status scores than the general population. Firefighters diagnosed in 2007-2017 had lower risk of all-cause death than the general population (crude HR 0.71 (0.53-0.95)). No difference remained after adjusting for age at diagnosis (HR 1.03 (0.77-1.37)). Firefighters were older at diagnosis in 1994-2006 (mean difference: 3.0 years), but showed no other significant differences in age at diagnosis, PSA values, Gleason scores or performance status compared with military employees, pilots and police officers.

Conclusions: Younger age and better prognostic factors at PCa diagnosis among firefighters and other occupations with requirements for health check-ups than cases in the general population may indicate an increased diagnostic intensity, likely contributing to elevated PCa incidence in such occupations.

Keywords: firefighters; medical oncology; military personnel; occupational health services; urogenital system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Firefighters*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Norway
  • Occupations
  • Prognosis
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / epidemiology


  • Prostate-Specific Antigen