Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2023;49(6):419-427    pdf

https://doi.org/10.5271/sjweh.4106 | Published online: 14 Jul 2023, Issue date: 01 Sep 2023

Cancer risks in a population-based study of agricultural workers: results from the Taiwan’s Farmers and Health Cohort study

by Chen W-L, Lin G-L, Lin Y-J, Su T-Y, Wang C-C, Wu W-T

Objective The purpose of this study was to assess cancer risk among agricultural workers compared to the general population.

Methods The study utilized data from Farmers’ Health Insurance (FHI) in Taiwan, which enrolled agricultural workers (N=1 175 149). The enrolled workers were matched to a general population (N=1 175 149) of the same age, gender, township, and enrollment year. The study population was linked to the National Cancer Registry to identify new cancer cases between 2000 and 2018. The Cox proportional hazards model was used to estimate the hazard ratio and 95% confidence interval for outcomes.

Results During the study period, 136 913 new cancers among agricultural workers were identified. The study found that male farmers had an increased cancer risk, including lymphocytic leukemia, chronic myelogenous leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), oral cancer, lip cancer, esophagus cancer, rectum and rectosigmoid junction cancer, liver and intrahepatic bile duct cancer, lung cancer, trachea and bronchi cancer, and other non-melanoma skin cancer, even when considering the latency period. Female farmers had an elevated risk of multiple myeloma and other non-melanoma skin cancer. Moreover, only lymphoma, NHL, other lymphoid, and multiple myeloma, were both found to occur at different insurance periods.

Conclusions This study provides farmer cancer patterns and risk, adding to the evidence that farmers are at increased risk of certain types of cancer, especially for hematological cancers. As exposure varies by farm operation type, individual farmer exposure may vary widely. Further understanding of the complex relationship between occupational exposure, environmental factors, and lifestyle factors is needed.

This article refers to the following text of the Journal: 1992;18(4):209-215
Download additional material