Picking up bad vibrations? Truckers at risk for cancer
Warning: Driving a truck for a living can be hazardous to your health — if you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, researchers said on Tuesday.
Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men, and in most cases, it's basically harmless.
As the National Cancer Institute says, even patients who never get their tumors treated are likely to die of something other than prostate cancer. So, instead of looking at prostate cancer risk, the researchers who did the study focused on the risk that the cancer would be aggressive at the time of diagnosis.
They had a hunch that truck drivers might be vulnerable, because previous studies had suggested that long-term exposure to the kind of “whole-body vibration” endured by men working with heavy equipment could increase prostate cancer risk. It's not clear why this would be, but one possibility is that the vibration prompts the body to produce more testosterone, which is a known risk factor for prostate cancer, according to a 2012 study published in the Annals of Occupational Hygiene.
Another is that vibration can lead to prostatitis, or inflammation of the prostate gland, which may be linked to prostate cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.
The research team — from the NCI, the Louisiana State University School of Public Health, the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y. — looked at medical records and other data from 2,132 men who were part of the North Carolina-Louisiana Prostate Cancer Project.
Along with other health and demographic information, they told interviewers about the two jobs where they had spent the most time in their careers, as well as their most recent job at the time of their diagnosis.
When the researchers crunched the numbers, they found that men who said they spent more time driving a truck than doing anything else were nearly four times more likely than educators to be diagnosed with a prostate cancer considered highly aggressive.
The educators were used as the baseline group because they were deemed to have pretty much no exposure to whole-body vibration.
These aggressive cancers had a PSA level greater than 20 nanograms per milliliter of blood, a Gleason sum of at least 8, or a combination of a Gleason sum of at least 7 and tumors that were stage T3/T4.
Truck driving had the strongest link to an increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer, but it wasn't the only occupation associated with higher risk.
The researchers found that men who worked at a garden shop for at least six months were 2.33 times more likely than educators to be diagnosed with highly aggressive prostate cancer.
That might be due to exposure to pesticides, although men who worked as landscapers, exterminators or in other jobs that involve pesticides were not found to have a heightened risk of aggressive prostate cancer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- More rain worsens flooding in Texas
- IRS says hackers stole tax info from 100,000
- Texas man charged with helping friend’s bid to join ISIS
- Oregon proposal would outlaw sneak photos up women’s skirts
- Regulators seek cause of California oil spill
- Senators push for full funding for Amtrak
- 6 Baltimore officers indicted in Gray’s death
- Senate foils phone spies in close vote
- John Nash, wife, ‘A Beautiful Mind’ inspiration, die in N.J. taxi crash
- Obama gets state, local allies for key initiatives
- Doctors, hospitals get more time to convert to electronic health records