Worker health and wellness Cancer

Research review identifies occupations with breast cancer risk


Photo: Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock

San Francisco – A nonprofit organization has released a report identifying more than 20 occupations associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

As part of a scientific review released Aug. 6 by the Breast Cancer Fund, researchers examined more than 250 studies published in the past 25 years and confirmed the consensus that certain occupations are associated with a greater risk of breast cancer. Among them:

  • Nurses – 50 percent greater risk
  • Teachers – Up to double the risk
  • Librarians, lawyers, journalists and other professionals – 4 times the risk
  • Radiological technicians – Up to double the risk
  • Lab technicians, factory workers and workers who use chemical solvents – Up to 3 times the risk

The review also identified several other commonly overlooked occupations associated with increased breast cancer risks, including first responders, hairdressers, doctors and flight attendants. To better protect workers from developing breast cancer, the report authors recommended conducting additional research, modernizing OSHA and requiring workplaces to disclose exposures of concern, regardless of trade secrets.

“Because workers are often exposed to carcinogenic or toxic substances at regular doses for long periods of time, they are the modern-day canaries in the coal mine,” Jeanne Rizzo, president and CEO of the Breast Cancer Fund, said in a press release. “We are confident that there is a better way forward, and that a cancer-free economy is within our grasp. It’s time to put breast cancer out of work.”

The Breast Cancer Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing breast cancer through the elimination of chemical and radiation exposure.