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Cancer incidence in a cohort of Swedish merchant seafarers between 1985 and 2011
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Section of Sustainable Health. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, Gothenburg University, Gothenburg, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4625-2401
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Radiation Sciences, Oncology.
Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, Gothenburg University, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Section of Sustainable Health.
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2022 (English)In: International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, ISSN 0340-0131, E-ISSN 1432-1246, Vol. 95, no 5, p. 1103-1111Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

PURPOSE: Lung cancer, mesothelioma and several lifestyle-associated cancer forms have been reported more common in merchant seafarers. However, few studies reflect recent occupational settings and women seafarers are usually too scarce for meaningful analyses. We conducted a study on cancer incidence between 1985 and 2011 in a Swedish cohort consisting of male and female seafarers.

METHODS: All seafarers in the Swedish Seafarers' Register with at least one sea service between 1985 and 2011 and a cumulated sea service time of ≥ 30 days (N = 75,745; 64% men, 36% women; 1,245,691 person-years) were linked to the Swedish Cancer Register and followed-up until 31 December 2011. Standardized incidence ratios (SIR) were calculated with the general population as reference.

RESULTS: There were 4159 cancer cases in total, with 3221 among men and 938 among women. Male seafarers had an increased risk of total cancer (SIR 1.05; 95% CI 1.01-1.09), lung cancer (SIR 1.51; 95% CI 1.35-1.67) and urinary bladder cancer (SIR 1.17; 95% CI 1.02-1.33). Several lifestyle-associated cancer forms were more common in men. Previous work on tankers was associated with leukaemia (SIR 1.41; 95% CI 1.00-1.86). The risk of cancer decreased with a start as a male seafarer after 1985, with a significant trend for total cancer (P < 0.001), lung cancer (P = 0.001) and, for tanker seafarers, leukaemia (P = 0.045). Women seafarers had an increased risk of lung cancer (SIR 1.54; 95% CI 1.23-1.87) but the risk of total cancer was not increased (SIR 0.83; 95% CI 0.78-0.89).

CONCLUSIONS: In this cohort of merchant Swedish seafarers 1985-2011, the risk of total cancer was increased in men but not in women compared to the general population. Lung cancer was increased in both genders. The risk of cancer seems to decrease over the last decades, but better exposure assessments to occupational carcinogens and longer observation times are needed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2022. Vol. 95, no 5, p. 1103-1111
Keywords [en]
Cancer incidence, Cohort, Follow-up, Lifestyle, Neoplasm (epidemiology), Occupational disease (epidemiology), Occupational exposure, Record linkage, Risk factor, Seafarer, Sweden
National Category
Occupational Health and Environmental Health Cancer and Oncology
Research subject
Oncology; Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-191181DOI: 10.1007/s00420-021-01828-2ISI: 000740414300001PubMedID: 34997857Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85122655954OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-191181DiVA, id: diva2:1626226
Funder
AFA Insurance, 100085Available from: 2022-01-11 Created: 2022-01-11 Last updated: 2023-03-24Bibliographically approved

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Forsell, KarlBjör, OveJärvholm, Bengt

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