Women in certain jobs ‘may be at higher risk of ovarian cancer’ World News

Barbers, beauticians and accountants are at higher risk of ovarian cancer, a new study suggests.

Those who work in sales, retail, clothing and construction may also be at higher risk, according to a new study published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

But the study authors stress that “the extrapolation of the results is limited,” as they call for more work to examine links between ovarian cancer risk and different occupations.

Linking occupation to ovarian cancer risk, researchers led by academics at the University of Montreal in Canada examined data on 491 Canadian women with ovarian cancer and compared them to 897 women without ovarian cancer.

They also compared the data to the Canadian Work Exposure Matrix to check for any potential workplace exposures — for example, whether they were more likely to be exposed to a certain chemical at work.

After accounting for potentially influential factors, they found that certain jobs may be associated with an increased risk of disease.

Those who had worked as hairdressers, barbers or beauticians appeared to be three times more at risk.

Meanwhile, women who had worked in accountancy for a decade were twice as likely to develop the disease than construction workers, who were almost three times as likely.

Store clerks and salespeople had a 45 percent increased risk, while those who made or modified clothes appeared to have an 85 percent increased risk.

Researchers identify dangerous ‘agents’

Those found to be at higher risk were also more likely to be exposed to a variety of “substances,” including cosmetic talc, ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, dusting, synthetic fibers, polyester fibers, organic dyes, pigments and bleaches, the researchers said .

“The associations we observed suggest that accounting, hairdressing, sales, sewing, and related occupations may be associated with excess risk,” the authors wrote.

“Further population-based studies are needed to assess possible hazards for female workers and occupations commonly held by women.”

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In a related editorial, academics at the National Cancer Institute in Maryland state that women are underrepresented in “professional cancer research.”

The study, they say, “reminds us that while underrepresentation of women in occupational cancer research has long been recognized, and even potential strategies to address it, research on women’s occupational risks still needs to be improved.

“By excluding women, we lost opportunities to identify women-specific cancer risk factors, assess whether there were sex-specific risk differences, and study exposures that occurred in occupations predominantly held by women.”

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