A Cohort Study on Cancer Incidence among Women Exposed to Environmental Asbestos in Childhood with a Focus on Female Cancers, including Breast Cancer
Peer reviewed, Journal article
MetadataShow full item record
Original versionInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH). 2022, 19 (4), . 10.3390/ijerph19042086
Objectives: To examine the risk of cancer in former school children exposed to environmental asbestos in childhood with a focus on female cancers, including breast cancer. Methods: We retrieved a cohort of females (n = 6024) attending four schools located in the neighborhood of a large asbestos cement plant in Denmark. A reference cohort was frequency-matched 1:9 (n = 54,200) in sex and five-year age intervals. Using Danish registries, we linked information on historical employments, relatives’ employments, cancer, and vital status. We calculated standardized incidence rates (SIRs) for all and specific cancers, comparing these rates with the reference cohort. Hazard ratios were calculated for selected cancers adjusted for occupational and familial asbestos exposure. Results: For cancer of the corpus uteri (SIR 1.29, 95% CI 1.01–1.66) and malignant mesothelioma (SIR 7.26, 95% CI 3.26–16.15), we observed significantly increased incidences. Occupationally, asbestos exposure had a significantly increased hazard ratio for cancer in the cervix, however, a significantly lower risk of ovarian cancer. The overall cancer incidence was similar to that of the reference cohort (SIR 1.02, 95% CI 0.96–1.07). The risk of cancer of the lung was increased for those exposed to occupational asbestos, those with family members occupationally exposed to asbestos and for tobacco smokers. Conclusions: In our study, environmental asbestos exposure in childhood is associated with an increased risk of cancer of the corpus uteri and malignant mesothelioma in women.