Occupational risk factors for prostate cancer mortality in British Columbia, Canada

Am J Ind Med. 1999 Jan;35(1):82-6. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0274(199901)35:1<82::aid-ajim11>3.0.co;2-e.


Background: Although prostate cancer is the most common life-threatening cancer among males in North America, relatively little is known about its etiology. We have conducted a proportional mortality study to generate hypotheses concerning occupational risk factors for the disease.

Methods: Age standardized proportional mortality ratios (PMR) for prostate cancer were calculated for a total of 216 occupations and 88 industries. Separate calculations were done for all male deaths age 20 and up and for deaths that occurred during men's working lifetime (age 20-65).

Results: Elevated mortality from prostate cancer was seen among business owners and managers (PMR = 110; 95% CI = 101-118), brokers (PMR = 184; 95% CI = 122-266), farmers and farm managers (PMR = 112; 95% CI = 105-120), and school teachers (PMR = 133; 95% CI = 101-174). Evaluation by industry shows elevated prostate cancer mortality in agriculture (PMR = 110; 95% CI = 103-118), financial institutions (PMR = 138, 95% CI = 112-170), and transportation equipment manufacture (PMR = 136; 95% CI = 109-168).

Conclusions: The findings suggest that workers in a number of occupations have elevated risks of prostate cancer including farmers and teachers. More detailed cohort and case-control studies, evaluating specific exposures are required before primary prevention programs in the workplace are feasible.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • British Columbia / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Health*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Risk Factors