The relationship between parental occupation and bone cancer risk in offspring
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BACKGROUND: Bone cancers in children are serious and highly fatal conditions, yet relatively little is known about their causes or methods of prevention. METHODS: The relationship between parental occupation and bone cancer in offspring was explored in a case-control study. Cases were identified from the Ontario Cancer Registry; population-based controls were matched on sex and age. Data were collected from their parents through the use of a mailed self-administered questionnaire. RESULTS: The odds ratio estimates (OR) for bone cancer were elevated for fathers in the social sciences (OR = 2.5, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.7-8.4). Risk of Ewing's sarcoma was significantly high among children with fathers in social sciences (OR = 6.2, 95% CI: 1.6-24.5) and mothers in teaching (OR = 3.1, 95% CI: 1.1-8.7) or farming (OR = 7.8, 95% CI: 1.9-31.7). Osteosarcoma risk was increased for fathers in farming (OR = 2.1, 95% CI: 0.8-5.7), and mothers in managerial and administrative work (OR = 2.3, 95% CI: 0.6-8.1), and product fabricating, assembling, and repairing (OR = 2.0, 95% CI: 0.6-7.2). CONCLUSIONS: Certain methodological problems plague studies of bone cancer in children (e.g. small studies, low statistical power, analysis of multiple occupational categories, difficulty in identifying specific carcinogenic agents). These associations require further investigation, especially as elevated risks have been reported previously for agricultural occupations.
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