Natural resource-based industries and prostate cancer risk in Northeastern Ontario: a case-control study

Sritharan J, Demers PA, Harris SA, Cole DC, Kreiger N, Sass-Kortsak A, Lightfoot N. Natural resource-based industries and prostate cancer risk in Northeastern Ontario: a case control study. Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2016.

Objective: Prostate cancer continues to be the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men, and there is limited knowledge on its preventable risk factors. A number of occupational exposures in natural resource-based industries are suspected to be related to prostate cancer risk. This study investigates associations between employment in these industries and prostate cancer.

Methods: Data were from a population-based, case–control study previously conducted in Northeastern Ontario. Incident cases (N=760) aged 45–85 years and diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1995 and 1998 were identified from the Ontario Cancer Registry. Controls (N=1632) were recruited using telephone listings, and were frequency matched to cases by age. Lifetime occupational history was collected for all participants. Logistic regression was used to estimate ORs and their associated 95% CIs.

Results: Elevated risks were observed for employment in forestry and logging industries (OR=1.87, 95% CI 1.32 to 2.73) and occupations (OR=1.71, 95% CI 1.24 to 2.35), and these risks increased with duration of employment for ≥10 years. Elevated risks were also found for employment in wood products industries (OR=1.45, 95% CI 1.07 to 1.97), and paper and allied products industries (OR=1.43, 95% CI 1.03 to 2.00), and when duration of employment was ≥10 years. There were also elevated risks in agriculture and mining-related work; however, these findings were not consistent across industry and occupation categories.

Conclusions: Prostate cancer risk may be associated with work in several natural resource industries, primarily in the forest industries. To further evaluate observed associations, studies should focus on natural resource-based exposures in larger populations with improved exposure assessment.