Short communication

Scand J Work Environ Health 2009;35(5):397-399    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.1341

Suggested excess of occupational cancers in Norwegian offshore workers: preliminary results from the Cancer Registry Offshore Cohort

by Aas GB, Aagnes B, Strand LÅ, Grimsrud TK

Objective The aim of this communication was to report the overall incidence of cancer in a cohort of male Norwegian offshore oil workers.

Methods The Offshore Cohort was comprised of >25 000 men who were employed at installations in the North Sea in the period 1965–1999, and who responded to a questionnaire that included work history offshore, other occupational experience, education, leisure-time activities, and lifestyle factors. Calculating standardized incidence ratios (SIR), we compared the number of prospective incident cancers diagnosed between 1999 and 2005 with those expected for age-, gender- and period-specific rates in the general Norwegian population.

Results The overall cancer incidence did not differ from that of the reference population [SIR=1.0, 95% ­confidence interval (95% CI) 1.0–1.1, N=695]. There were indications of excess risks of acute myeloid leukemia (SIR=2.0, 95% CI 1.0–3.7) and cancer of the pleura (SIR=2.2, 95% CI 0.9–4.6). No data on occupational history was used in these preliminary analyses.

Conclusions The cohort was relatively young and an extended observation period would be important for in-depth analyses. The suggested excess of leukemia and cancer of the pleura may be linked to occupational exposure during employment offshore; this issue needs to be addressed in further studies.