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Am J Ind Med. 1999 Jul;36(1):186-92.

Cancer mortality among women employed in fast-growing U.S. occupations.

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Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, Ohio 45226, USA. CFR2@CDC.GOV


Our study examined cancer mortality before the age of 65 for women employed in the fastest growing and/or traditionally female occupations. Analysis of mortality data from 28 U.S. states for 1984-1995 revealed elevated proportionate cancer mortality ratios (PCMRs). The highest PCMRs observed were thyroid cancer among health aides, lymphatic and multiple myeloma among computer programmers, and brain cancer among actresses and directresses. Some of the excess mortality occurred for occupations that have been previously cited. These included elevated breast and ovarian cancer among teachers, Hodgkin's disease among hairdressers and cosmetologists, and thyroid cancer among health aides and therapists. A few of the associations were new, i.e., had not been previously observed. These included cancer of the connective tissue and lymphatic system among computer programmers, ovarian cancer and leukemia among secretaries, and lymphatic cancer and multiple myeloma among child care workers. These findings should be further investigated with epidemiologic and environmental studies.

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