Prostate cancer in pesticide applicators in Swedish agriculture

Prostate. 1998 Feb 1;34(2):100-12. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0045(19980201)34:2<100::aid-pros4>;2-o.


Background: The use of chemicals in agriculture has been associated with elevated risks of prostate cancer. The aim of this study was to analyze prostate cancer risk in a cohort of 20,025 pesticide applicators in agriculture licensed between 1965-1976.

Methods: The cohort was followed up in the Swedish Cancer Register from date of licence until death of December 31, 1991. The mean follow-up time was 21.3 years.

Results: We found a statistically significant increased risk of prostate cancer with 401 cases observed compared to 355 expected, with a standardized incidence ratio (SIR) of 1.13 (95% confidence interval: 1.02-1.24). There were 7 cases among those born in 1935 or later, and the SIR was 2.03 (0.82-4.19). For those born earlier than 1935 the SIR was 1.12 (1.01-1.24).

Conclusions: These findings of a statistically significant increased risk of prostate cancer, together with recent results from other studies, imply a relationship between agrochemicals or other risk factors in the environment of farmers and prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / mortality
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pesticides / adverse effects*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / chemically induced*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Risk Factors
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Time Factors


  • Pesticides