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Can J Public Health. 2018 Aug;109(4):464-472. doi: 10.17269/s41997-018-0095-9. Epub 2018 Sep 17.

Workplace exposure to asbestos and the risk of kidney cancer in Canadian men.

Author information

1
Department of Health Sciences, Carleton University, 3rd Floor, Health Sciences Building, Ottawa, ON, K1S 5B6, Canada. Cheryl.Peters@albertahealthservices.ca.
2
Institut Armand Frappier-Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, Laval, QC, Canada. Cheryl.Peters@albertahealthservices.ca.
3
Institut Armand Frappier-Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, Laval, QC, Canada.
4
Cancer Care Ontario, Toronto, ON, Canada.
5
Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.
6
Department of Health Sciences, Carleton University, 3rd Floor, Health Sciences Building, Ottawa, ON, K1S 5B6, Canada.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Previous studies considered the role of occupational causes in kidney cancer but were limited by small sample sizes and imprecise exposure assessment. This study examined the relationship between occupational exposure to asbestos and the risk of kidney cancer across a range of jobs in a large, population-based case-control study in Canada.

METHODS:

Data were from the case-control component of the National Enhanced Cancer Surveillance System, a study conducted between 1994 and 1997 in eight Canadian provinces. Male kidney cancer cases, histologically confirmed, and controls completed questionnaires on socio-demographics, anthropometry, diet, smoking, secondhand smoke exposure, and physical activity. Occupational histories were also collected, including each job held for at least 1 year since the age of 18. Occupational hygienists, blinded to case status, assigned exposure to asbestos, considering intensity, frequency, and probability of exposure (each 3-point scales). Logistic regression was used to estimate the odds of kidney cancer in exposed participants (defined using three metrics) compared to those without asbestos exposure.

RESULTS:

There were 712 cases and 2454 controls in these analyses. Ever-exposure to asbestos was associated with 20% increased odds of kidney cancer compared to unexposed workers (OR 1.2, 95% confidence interval 1.0-1.4 when including possibly exposed workers). A small increase in risk was observed with cumulative exposure, while increasing intensity of exposure was related to increased odds of kidney cancer.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study found some evidence for an association between occupational exposure to asbestos and kidney cancer. Higher intensity of exposure to asbestos had the strongest relationship with kidney cancer risk.

KEYWORDS:

Asbestos exposure; Kidney cancer; Workplace exposure

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