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Work-Related Stress Was Not Associated with Increased Cancer Risk in a Population-Based Cohort Setting
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Radiation Sciences, Oncology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4864-7842
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Radiation Sciences, Oncology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2974-2003
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Section of Medicine.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7768-1076
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Biosciences, Pathology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9933-2843
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2021 (English)In: Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, ISSN 1055-9965, E-ISSN 1538-7755, Vol. 31, no 1, p. 51-57Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Stress is a commonly perceived cause of cancer, but the evidence to date is limited and inconclusive. We examined work-related stress in relation to cancer incidence in a population-based cohort, with outcome data from Swedish national registries.

Methods: The study population included 113,057 participants in the Västerbotten Intervention Programme. HRs were estimated using Cox proportional hazards regression, for cancer overall and for types with ≥500 cases, and adjusting for several potential confounders. The primary exposure was prediagnostic work-related stress, using the well established Karasek job demand/control model. Demand and control variables were dichotomized at the median, and participants were classified according to combinations of these categories. We also considered social network and aspects of quality of life.

Results: "High-strain" work (high demand/low control) was not associated with cancer risk compared with "low-strain" work (low demand/high control): multivariable HR 1.01 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.94-1.08] for men and 0.99 (95% CI, 0.92-1.07) for women. Results were also null for most cancer types assessed: prostate, breast, colorectal, lung, and gastrointestinal (GI). The risk of GI cancer was lower for "passive" (low demand/low control) versus "low-strain" work, particularly for colorectal cancer in women: multivariable HR 0.71 (95% CI, 0.55-0.91), but statistical significance was lost after adjustment for multiple testing.

Conclusions: The findings of this population-based, cohort study do not support a role for work-related stress in determining cancer risk.

Impact: This study helps fill an important knowledge gap given the common concern about stress as a risk factor for cancer.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Association for Cancer Research , 2021. Vol. 31, no 1, p. 51-57
National Category
Occupational Health and Environmental Health Cancer and Oncology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-191724DOI: 10.1158/1055-9965.epi-21-0182ISI: 000750204900001PubMedID: 34697056Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85122950964OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-191724DiVA, id: diva2:1631205
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2017-00650Available from: 2022-01-23 Created: 2022-01-23 Last updated: 2023-09-05Bibliographically approved

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Hadrévi, JennyMyte, RobinOlsson, TommyPalmqvist, RichardSlunga-Järvholm, Lisbethvan Guelpen, Bethany

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Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention
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