Researchers who analysed the job histories of nearly 500 women with ovarian cancer and almost 900 healthy female workers have identified occupations and chemical agents linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
They found accountants, hairdressers, beauticians, salespeople, retail workers, sewers, embroiderers, and construction workers have an elevated risk of ovarian cancer. Exposure to various chemicals and substances like cosmetic talc, ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, hair dust, polyester fibres, formaldehyde, and others also increased the risk.
The researchers, from the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Montreal, suggest further studies, particularly focusing on hairdressing-related occupations, can help identify the specific agents causing ovarian cancer. However, most of the chemicals they identified have not been thoroughly assessed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) for their carcinogenic effects on humans.
They emphasize the need for more research on occupational hazards faced by women, as the number of studies in this area has not kept up with the increasing participation of women in the workforce.
Previous studies have also found that teachers, nurses, hairdressers, beauticians, printing industry workers, and those in white-collar and professional occupations have an elevated risk of ovarian cancer, noting the increased risk in accountants aligns with associations found in other white-collar workers and may be influenced by the sedentary nature of the work.
Access the study: Occupational Environment and Ovarian Cancer Risk, here