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Higher lung cancer risk for women workers in certain fields (6/20)

June 20, 2011
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Women who work in several occupations and industries have a higher-than-average chance of dying of lung cancer, according to a study published online in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

Researchers who studied population-based mortality data for more than four million women who died in the U.S. between 1984 and 1998 found “significant excess proportionate lung cancer mortality” among women who worked in manufacturing, transportation, retail trade, agriculture, forestry and fishing and nursing/personal care industries.

Additionally, “women employed in precision production, technical, managerial, professional specialty and administration occupations experienced some of the highest significantly excess proportionate lung cancer mortality” during that time period.

The statistics were adjusted for smoking, using data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study II.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in US women, accounting for 72,130 deaths in 2006. The study’s authors --Cynthia F. Robinson PhD, Patricia A. Sullivan MS, ScD, Jia Li MI and James T. Walker PhD, said that smoking cessation and preventing exposure to occupational lung carcinogens could help reduce lung cancer mortality.

“Because 6–17% of lung cancer in US males is attributable to known exposures to occupational carcinogens, and since synergistic interactions between cigarette smoke and other occupational lung carcinogens have been noted, it is important to continue research into the effects of occupational exposures on working men and women,” they conclude.

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