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News

Work stress and risk of colorectal cancer

A review in this week's issue of the British Medical Journal reviews cancer events and the risk of cancer.

News image

Dr Katriina Heikkilä and colleagues investigated whether work related stress, measured and defined as job strain, is associated with the overall risk of cancer and the risk of colorectal, lung, breast, or prostate cancers.

Meta-analysis of pooled prospective individual participant data from 12 European cohort studies including 116,056 men and women aged 17-70 who were free from cancer at study baseline, and were followed-up for a median of 12 years.

Work stress was measured and defined as job strain, which was self reported at baseline.

High job strain was used as a a harmonized measure of work stress
British Medical Journal

Incident cancers were ascertained from cancer, hospital admission, and death registers.

Data were analyzed in each study with Cox regression and the study specific estimates pooled in meta-analyses.

Models were adjusted for age, sex, socioeconomic position, body mass index (BMI), smoking, and alcohol intake

The team found that a harmonized measure of work stress, high job strain, was not associated with overall risk of cancer in the multivariable adjusted analyses.

The researchers observed no association between job strain and the risk of colorectal, lung, breast, or prostate cancers.

There was no clear evidence for an association between the categories of job strain and the risk of cancer.

Dr Heikkilä's team commented, "These findings suggest that work related stress, measured and defined as job strain, at baseline is unlikely to be an important risk factor for colorectal, lung, breast, or prostate cancers."

BMJ 2013; 346:f165
26 February 2013

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