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Are Specific Occupational Exposures Linked to Ovarian Cancer?

Increased odds ratios observed for employment as accountants; hairdressers, beauticians, and related workers; sewers and embroiderers

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, July 14, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Certain occupations, industries, and occupational exposure to specific agents are associated with an increased risk for ovarian cancer, according to a study published online July 10 in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Lisa Leung, from the Université de Montréal, and colleagues conducted a population-based, case-control study in Montreal from 2011 to 2016 to examine specific occupational exposures in relation to ovarian cancer risk. Lifetime occupational histories were collected for 491 cases of ovarian cancer and 897 controls. The link between ovarian cancer and exposure to each of the 29 most prevalent occupational agents was examined.

The researchers found that the odds ratios were elevated for employment ≥10 years as accountants; hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, and related workers; sewers and embroiderers; and salespeople, shop assistants, and demonstrators (2.05 [95 percent confidence interval, 1.10 to 3.79], 3.22 [1.25 to 8.27], 1.85 [0.77 to 4.45], and 1.45 [0.71 to 2.96], respectively); increased odds ratios were also seen in the industries of retail trade and construction (1.59 [1.05 to 2.39] and 2.79 [0.52 to 4.83], respectively). For high cumulative exposure versus never exposed to 18 agents, including cosmetic talc, ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, hair dust, synthetic fibers, polyester fibers, organic dyes and pigments, cellulose, formaldehyde, propellant gases, aliphatic alcohols, ethanol, isopropanol, fluorocarbons, alkanes (C5–C17), mononuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from petroleum, and bleaches, positive associations were seen, with odds ratios greater than 1.42.

“Our results suggest that employment in certain occupations and specific occupational exposures may be associated with increased risks of ovarian cancer,” the authors write. “Further studies are required to replicate findings.”

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