Evidence of an occupational effect due to asbestos exposure was sought by comparing cancer registrations for dockyard workers with those for Plymouth men in the same age groups for 1960-69. The results show a significant excess of pleural tumours in the dockyard group but no significant excesses at other sites. Registrations for pleural mesothelioma were recorded for men with many dockyard occupations and the observed mean interval between first exposure to asbestos and registration for a pleural tumour (37.6 years) indicates that cases of pleural mesothelioma may be expected to occur among these workers for many years, even though crocidolite is no longer used in naval ships. A trend of increasing annual excess of stomach and gastrointestinal registrations was observed in the dockyard group. No cases of peritoneal mesothelioma were recorded but it is likely that some did occur which were diagnosed as cancers arising from other sites. This may account for some of the excess of gastrointestinal registrations.
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