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Int J Cancer. 2019 Feb 8. doi: 10.1002/ijc.32199. [Epub ahead of print]

Cancer incidence and mortality among firefighters.

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Department of Occupational Health and Safety, Faculty of Health, Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences, Bandar Abbas, Iran.
School of Health and Nutrition, Bushehr University of Medical Sciences, Bushehr, Iran.
Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Tromsø, The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway.
Department of Research, Cancer Registry of Norway - Institute of Population-Based Cancer Research, Oslo, Norway.
Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
Genetic Epidemiology Group, Folkhälsan Research Center, and Faculty of Medicine, Helsinki University, Helsinki, Finland.
Oslo Centre for Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Oslo University Hospital and Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
Department of Occupational Health and Safety, Research Center for Health, Safety and Environment, Alborz University of Medical Sciences, Karaj, Iran.


Firefighters are exposed to both known and suspected carcinogens. This study aims to systematically review the literature on the association of firefighting occupation and cancer incidence and mortality, overall and for specific cancer sites. A systematic review using PubMed, Embase, and Web of Science was performed up to January 1, 2018. We extracted risk estimates of cancers and calculated summary incidence risk estimates (SIRE), summary mortality risk estimates (SMRE), and their 95% confidence intervals (CI). Publication bias and risk of bias in individual studies were assessed using Begg's and Egger's tests and the Newcastle-Ottawa scale (NOS), respectively. We included 50 papers in the review and 48 in the meta-analysis. We found significantly elevated SIREs for cancer of the colon (1.14; CI 1.06 to 1.21), rectum (1.09; CI 1.00 to 1.20), prostate (1.15; CI 1.05 to 1.27), testis (1.34; CI 1.08 to 1.68), bladder (1.12; CI 1.04 to 1.21), thyroid (1.22; CI 1.01 to 1.48), pleura (1.60; CI 1.09 to 2.34), and for malignant melanoma (1.21; CI 1.02 to 1.45). We found significant SMREs of 1.36 (1.18 to 1.57) and 1.42 (1.05 to 1.90) for rectal cancer and Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, respectively. Considering the significantly elevated risk of some cancers in this occupational group, we suggest improving preventive measures and securing adequate and relevant medical attention for this group. Further studies with more accurate and in-depth exposure assessments are indicated. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


cancer; firefighter; firefighting; meta-analysis; review


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