Occupational exposure to magnetic fields and breast cancer among Canadian men

Grundy A, Harris SA, Demers PA, Johnson KC, Agnew R, Canadian Cancer Registries Epidemiology Research Group, Villeneuve PJ. Occupational exposure to magnetic fields and breast cancer among Canadian men. Cancer Medicine 2016 Mar;5(3):586-596.

Occupational magnetic field (MF) exposure has been suggested as a risk factor for breast cancer in both men and women. Due to the rarity of this disease in men, most epidemiologic studies investigating this relationship have been limited by small sample sizes. Herein, associations of several measures of occupational MF exposure with breast cancer in men were investigated using data from the population‐based case–control component of the Canadian National Enhanced Cancer Surveillance System. Lifetime job histories were provided by 115 cases and 570 controls. Average MF exposure of individual jobs was classified into three categories (<0.3, 0.3 to <0.6, or ≥0.6 μT) through expert blinded review of participant’s lifetime occupational histories. The impact of highest average and cumulative MF exposure, as well as exposure duration and specific exposure‐time windows, on cancer risk was examined using logistic regression. The proportion of cases (25%) with a highest average exposure of ≥0.3 μT was higher than among controls (22%). We found an elevated risk of breast cancer in men who were exposed to ≥0.6 μT (odds ratio [OR] = 1.80, 95% CI = 0.82–3.95) when compared to those with exposures <0.3 μT. Those exposed to occupational MF fields for at least 30 years had a nearly threefold increase in risk of breast cancer (OR = 2.77, 95% CI = 0.98–7.82) when compared to those with background levels of exposure. Findings for the other time‐related MF variables were inconsistent. Our analysis, in one of the largest case–control studies of breast cancer in men conducted to date, provides limited support for the hypothesis that exposure to MF increases the risk breast cancer in men.