Cancer incidence and mortality among Finnish asbestos sprayers and in asbestosis and silicosis patients

Am J Ind Med. 1997 Jun;31(6):693-8. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0274(199706)31:6<693::aid-ajim4>;2-s.


Cohorts of Finnish asbestos sprayers and of asbestosis and silicosis patients were followed for cancer with the aid of the Finnish Cancer Registry in the period 1967-1994. Compared with the cancer incidence of the total Finnish population, asbestos sprayers had an increased risk for total cancer (standardized incidence ratio [SIR] 6.7, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 4.2-10); lung cancer (SIR 17.95% CI 8.2-31); and mesothelioma (SIR 263, 95% CI 85-614). The SIR of the asbestosis patients was 3.7 (95% CI 2.8-5.0) for all sites, 10 (95% CI 6.9-14) for lung cancer, and 65 (95% CI 13-188) for mesothelioma. The silicosis patients also had significantly high SIR values for all sites (1.5, 95% CI 1.0-2.1) and lung cancer (2.7, 95% CI 1.5-4.5). The values for the SIR and the standardized mortality ratio for all sites and lung cancer were very similar, and therefore it seems that both are reliable indicators of the occurrence of occupational cancer. It was concluded that pneumoconioses patients and asbestos-exposed workers have a markedly elevated risk for cancer. Asbestos-induced occupational cancers are not only diseases of the elderly, since the relative risk is high also for middle-aged people.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asbestosis / mortality*
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Male
  • Mesothelioma / epidemiology
  • Mesothelioma / mortality
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / mortality
  • Silicosis / mortality*
  • Vascular Diseases / mortality