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Farming and prostate cancer
  1. Vilhjalmur Rafnsson
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor V Rafnsson
 Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Iceland, Neshaga 16, 107 Reykjavík, Iceland; vilraf{at}

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Commentary on paper by Meyer et al(see page 155)

There is ample published literature already available on prostate cancer in farmers, but Meyer et al1 contribute additional insights on risk factors related to farming in a population-based case–control study presented in this issue. Farmers are generally thought to enjoy a healthy lifestyle; they tend to smoke less and consume less alcohol, and to obtain more physical exercise than other groups.2 However, they have occupational exposure of interest, including exposures to a variety of chemicals, such as pesticides, herbicides, fertilisers, solvents, engine exhaust gases and organic dust, and biological agents such as zoonotic viruses, bacteria and fungi.2,3 Although these exposures are varied, a discussion of risk factors related to contracting certain types of cancer, in particular prostate cancer, often tends to be focused only on pesticides. Some of the reviews on prostate cancer and farmers indicate an association with pesticides,4 whereas others are not conclusive with regard to the actual risk factors for what seems to be a slightly higher …

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  • Competing interests: None declared.

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