Ovarian Cancer News: Study Warns Of Common Jobs By Females That Increases Their Risk Of Developing Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian Cancer News
: Ovarian cancer remains one of the most insidious and life-threatening diseases affecting women worldwide. While genetic factors and family history have long been recognized as contributors to ovarian cancer risk, recent research has unveiled a new dimension of concern - occupational hazards.
A new study by researchers from University of Montreal - Canada has shed light on the potential links between certain occupations and industries and an increased risk of ovarian cancer. The study team explored the potential mechanisms behind these associations, and explored the broader implications for women's health and workplace safety.
According to past reports and Ovarian Cancer News
updates, ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women, accounting for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. A woman's risk of getting ovarian cancer during her lifetime is about 1 in 78. Her lifetime chance of dying from ovarian cancer is about 1 in 108.
In 2020, a total of 313,959 new cases of ovarian cancer were recorded globally, with an ASR incidence of 6.6 per 100,000.
As a result of the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, ovarian cancer rates are expected to rise exponentially as many studies have now validated that the way SARS-CoV-2 affects our immunity system and downregulates a lot of cancer protective genes and proteins while upregulating oncogenic genes, it has become a contributing factor to the development of various types of cancer and also their progression! (please refer to studies in TMN archives)
The Research Study
The study in question embarked on a mission to comprehensively investigate the relationship between employment in specific occupations or industries and exposure to occupational agents with ovarian cancer risk. It harnessed data from a population-based case-control study known as the PRevention of OVArian Cancer in Quebec (PROVAQ). This study included 491 women, ranging in age from 18 to 79, who had received a diagnosis of epithelial ovarian cancer between the years 2010 and 2016. These women were carefully matched for age and electoral roll district with 897 women who had not experienced ovarian cancer. The overarching goal was to explore two critical aspects of the workplace environment: the duration of employment in particular roles or industries and the degree of exposure to specific occupational agents.
Key Findings: Occupations and Industries
The study's findings illuminated a startling nexus between certain professions and an elevated risk of ovarian cancer. Here are the key occupations and industries implicated:
-Hairdressers, Beauticians, and Related Workers
: The research revealed that women who dedicated a decade or more to these professions
faced a three-fold higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. This marked increase in risk warrants immediate attention and underscores the need for further investigation into the potential hazards in the beauty industry.
: Surprisingly, working as an accountant for ten or more years was associated with a doubling in ovarian cancer risk. While this risk increase is not as dramatic as that of hairdressers, it is still a significant finding that merits consideration and further research.
: Those employed in the construction industry faced an almost tripled risk of ovarian cancer when working for a decade or more. This finding serves as a stark reminder of the potential dangers lurking within this profession and underscores the necessity of robust safety measures.
Retail and Sales Professionals
: Women working in sales or retail positions also experienced heightened risks, with a 45% and 59% increase in risk, respectively. Given the prevalence of these professions among women, these findings raise important questions about workplace safety and the need for protective measures.
: Long-term employment in the clothing industry, including embroidery, was associated with an 85% heightened risk of ovarian cancer. This suggests that exposure to specific agents within this industry may be a significant risk factor and warrants further scrutiny.
Key Findings: Occupational Exposures
The study did not stop at identifying risky occupations and industries; it also examined exposure to specific agents in the workplace and their potential links to ovarian cancer. Notably, heightened risks of more than 40% were observed for high cumulative exposure (8 or more years) to various agents. These included:
-Organic dyes and pigments
-Mononuclear aromatic hydrocarbons
-Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from petroleum
Hairdressers, beauticians, and related workers were found to be the most frequently exposed to 13 of these agents, including ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, organic dyes and pigments, and bleaches. This emphasizes the pressing need for greater awareness, protective measures, and improved occupational safety guidelines within the beauty industry.
Challenges and Future Research
While the study's findings are undeniably concerning, it is essential to acknowledge the limitations. The number of women employed in certain occupations or industries, such as paper, printing, textile production, dry cleaning, and manufacturing, was relatively small. Moreover, given the multitude of analyses conducted, some statistically significant associations may have arisen by chance.
Therefore, further research is indispensable to validate these findings and establish a more comprehensive understanding of the intricate relationship between specific occupational exposures and ovarian cancer risk. The implications of these findings are far-reaching, and they demand an expanded and rigorous exploration of the complex web of factors involved.
Exploring the Mechanisms
Understanding the mechanisms that underlie these occupational associations with ovarian cancer risk is crucial for devising effective preventive strategies. While the study didn't delve deeply into the exact pathways involved, there are plausible explanations for some of these associations.
For hairdressers, beauticians, and related workers, the prolonged exposure to ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, and other chemicals used in hair treatments may play a role. These substances have the potential to disrupt hormonal balance or cause DNA damage, both of which can contribute to cancer development.
In the case of accountants, the factors contributing to increased risk remain less clear. However, sedentary work habits and long hours spent indoors could be potential factors. Additionally, stress associated with financial work might also play a role in ovarian cancer development.
Construction workers face a unique set of risks, including exposure to hazardous materials like asbestos and potential exposure to diesel exhaust and other carcinogens. The physical demands and stress associated with this occupation might also contribute to heightened risk.
In the retail and sales sectors, prolonged exposure to various chemicals found in consumer products could be a factor. Additionally, irregular hours, high-stress levels, and a lack of work-life balance may contribute to increased risk.
Within the clothing industry, the use of synthetic fibers, dyes, and other chemicals in textile production and garment manufacturing could be potential sources of exposure. Workers in this field may also face challenging working conditions that impact their overall health.
The study findings have unveiled compelling evidence of potential links between specific occupations, industries, and ovarian cancer risk. While these findings are not definitive, they underscore the need for heightened awareness of occupational hazards among women in certain professions. The risks associated with prolonged exposure to chemicals and workplace environments should not be underestimated.
In conclusion, while further research is necessary to validate these findings and elucidate the precise mechanisms involved, it is abundantly clear that occupational factors may play a significant role in ovarian cancer risk. Women in professions such as hairdressing, beautician work, accounting, construction, retail, and the clothing industry should be informed of these potential risks and empowered to take proactive steps to minimize their exposure to harmful agents. Ultimately, prioritizing women's occupational health and safety is not only vital for preventing ovarian cancer but also for advancing our understanding of female-specific cancers and ensuring healthier workplaces for all. As we move forward, it is imperative that we continue to advocate for more extensive research and comprehensive workplace protections to safeguard women's health and well-being.
The study findings were published in the peer reviewed journal: Occupational & Environmental Medicine.
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