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01.12.2014 | Original paper | Ausgabe 12/2014

Cancer Causes & Control 12/2014

Cancer incidence in a cohort with high fish consumption

Zeitschrift:
Cancer Causes & Control > Ausgabe 12/2014
Autoren:
Anu W. Turunen, Anna L. Suominen, Hannu Kiviranta, Pia K. Verkasalo, Eero Pukkala

Abstract

Purpose

Evidence suggests that fish-derived omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids inhibit cancer promotion and progression. On the other hand, fish may contain endocrine-disrupting and potentially carcinogenic environmental contaminants. Our objective was to describe cancer incidence among the Finnish professional fishermen and their wives who are presumed to eat a lot of fish, partly from the contaminated Baltic Sea. Additionally, we wanted to see whether occupational characteristics are reflected in the fishermen’s cancer pattern.

Methods

All Finnish fishermen during 1980–2002 were identified from the Professional Fishermen Register (n = 6,410) and their wives from the National Population Information System (n = 4,260). The cohort was linked with the Finnish Cancer Registry data until 2011, and the standardized incidence ratios (SIR) were calculated based on national incidence rates.

Results

The total cancer incidence among the fishermen and their wives was the same as in the Finnish general population. Among the fishermen, the incidence was increased for lip (SIR 2.17, 95 % confidence interval 1.26–3.47) and testis (2.51, 1.15–4.75) and decreased for colon (0.72, 0.52–0.98) cancers.

Conclusions

We cannot exclude the possibility that the observed excess in testis cancer among the fishermen could reflect life-long high exposure to environmental contaminants. An excess in lip cancer has been repeatedly observed among outdoor workers due to high exposure to ultraviolet radiation, whereas high physical activity during fishing is the most likely explanation for the deficit in colon cancer.

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