Despite efforts by lawmakers and manufacturers to protect workers and provide safe working environments, the risk of bladder cancer is still rising in certain industries, according to a review published online Oct. 8 in JAMA Oncology.
James Catto, M.B.Ch.B., Ph.D., of the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom, and colleagues reviewed data from 263 studies involving 31 million people worldwide. The new analysis revealed an increased risk of developing bladder cancer in 42 out of 61 occupational classes, and an increased risk of dying from bladder cancer in 16 out of 40 occupational classes. Those at greatest risk from the malignancy were workers exposed to aromatic amines. Also at high risk for bladder cancer and death from the disease were those exposed to heavy metals, and diesel and combustion products.
Workers exposed to these potential carcinogens include metal workers, electricians, mechanics, military service members, chimney sweeps, nurses, waiters, aluminum workers, seamen, and oil/petroleum workers, Catto’s team reported. Meanwhile, lower rates of bladder cancer were found in six out of 61 occupational classes, and reduced mortality risk was identified in just two of 40 classes. People working in agriculture were among those with the lowest risk.
“The profile of contemporary occupations with increased bladder cancer risk is broad and differs for incidence and mortality,” the authors write. “Currently the incidence seems to be increasing, and this increase is occurring faster in women than men. Improved detection mechanisms and screening are possible reasons for this. Workers with aromatic amine exposure have the highest incidence, while those exposed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heavy metals have the greatest mortality.”