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The need for, and challenges associated with, assessing occupational work histories for bladder and other occupational cancers
  1. Stella Koutros
  1. Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Stella Koutros, Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, USA; koutross{at}mail.nih.gov

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Occupational causes of cancer have been described since the 18th century. Since then, the identification of workplace exposures has clarified the aetiology and burden of several cancers. For bladder cancer, occupational exposures are the second leading cause in contemporary times, accounting for up to a quarter of all bladder cancer cases in men and a tenth of all cases in women.1 2

In the current issue, Millerick-May et al add to the body of literature identifying a strong and consistent association between benzidine exposure and risk of bladder cancer in a cohort of workers employed at a benzidine-producing facility. An important analysis included in this extended incidence and mortality follow-up is the evaluation of exposure time patterns. These analyses can include evaluations of time since first exposure and time since last exposure, which help to inform the latency of benzidine-related bladder cancer as well as how long after elimination of exposure risks decline. These relationships appear to be exposure-disease dependent, with examples for bladder cancer indicating a very long latency for potent International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) group I carcinogens like benzidine (30–35 years3) and arsenic (up to 40 years).4 In addition to providing the peak risk periods and informing mechanistic insights into the aetiology of disease, these data have important clinical …

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Footnotes

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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