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Natural resource-based industries and prostate cancer risk in Northeastern Ontario: a case–control study
  1. Jeavana Sritharan1,
  2. Paul A Demers2,
  3. Shelley A Harris3,
  4. Donald C Cole4,
  5. Nancy Kreiger4,
  6. Andrea Sass-Kortsak4,
  7. Nancy Lightfoot5
  1. 1Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Occupational Cancer Research Centre, Cancer Care Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2Occupational Cancer Research Centre, Cancer Care Ontario, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  3. 3Cancer Care Ontario, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  4. 4University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  5. 5School of Rural and Northern Health, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Jeavana Sritharan, Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Occupational Cancer Research Centre, Cancer Care Ontario, 525-03-327 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 2L3; jeavana.sritharan{at}


Objective Prostate cancer continues to be the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men, and there is limited knowledge on its preventable risk factors. A number of occupational exposures in natural resource-based industries are suspected to be related to prostate cancer risk. This study investigates associations between employment in these industries and prostate cancer.

Methods Data were from a population-based, case–control study previously conducted in Northeastern Ontario. Incident cases (N=760) aged 45–85 years and diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1995 and 1998 were identified from the Ontario Cancer Registry. Controls (N=1632) were recruited using telephone listings, and were frequency matched to cases by age. Lifetime occupational history was collected for all participants. Logistic regression was used to estimate ORs and their associated 95% CIs.

Results Elevated risks were observed for employment in forestry and logging industries (OR=1.87, 95% CI 1.32 to 2.73) and occupations (OR=1.71, 95% CI 1.24 to 2.35), and these risks increased with duration of employment for ≥10 years. Elevated risks were also found for employment in wood products industries (OR=1.45, 95% CI 1.07 to 1.97), and paper and allied products industries (OR=1.43, 95% CI 1.03 to 2.00), and when duration of employment was ≥10 years. There were also elevated risks in agriculture and mining-related work; however, these findings were not consistent across industry and occupation categories.

Conclusions Prostate cancer risk may be associated with work in several natural resource industries, primarily in the forest industries. To further evaluate observed associations, studies should focus on natural resource-based exposures in larger populations with improved exposure assessment.

  • occupational exposure
  • natural resource industries
  • prostate cancer

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