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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Risk of urinary bladder cancer: a case-control analysis of industry and occupation

Adrian Cassidy, Wei Wang, Xifeng Wu and Jie Lin*

Author Affiliations

Department of Epidemiology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA

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BMC Cancer 2009, 9:443  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-9-443

Published: 15 December 2009



Uncertainty remains about urinary bladder cancer (UBC) risk for many occupations. Here, we investigate the association between occupation, industry and UBC.


Lifetime occupational history was collected by in-person interview for 604 newly diagnosed UBC patients and 604 cancer-free controls. Each job title was assigned a two-digit industry code and a three-digit occupation code. Odds ratios (ORs) for UBC associated with ever being employed in an industry or occupation were calculated by unconditional logistic regression adjusting for age, gender and smoking status. We also examined UBC risk by duration of employment (>0 to <10, ≥10 years) in industry or occupation.


Significantly increased risk of UBC was observed among waiters and bartenders (OR 2.87; 95% CI 1.05 to 7.72) and occupations related to medicine and health (OR 2.17; 95% CI 1.21 to 3.92), agricultural production, livestock and animal specialties (OR 1.90; 95% CI 1.03 to 3.49), electrical assembly, installation and repair (OR 1.69; 95% CI 1.07 to 2.65), communications (OR 1.74; 95% CI 1.00 to 3.01), and health services (OR 1.58; 95% CI 1.02 to 2.44). For these occupations we also observed a significant excess risk of UBC for long-term work (i.e. ≥10 years), with the exception of waiters and bartenders. Employment for 10 years or more was associated with increased risk of UBC in general farmers (OR 9.58; 95% CI 2.18 to 42.05), agricultural production of crops (OR 3.36; 95% CI 1.10 to 10.27), occupations related to bench working (OR 4.76; 95% CI 1.74 to 13.01), agricultural, fishery, forestry & related (OR 4.58; 95% CI 1.97 to 10.65), transportation equipment (OR 2.68; 95% CI 1.03 to 6.97), and structural work (OR 1.85; 95% CI 1.16 to 2.95).


This study provides evidence of increased risk of UBC for occupations that were previously reported as at-risk. Workers in several occupation and industry groups have a significantly higher risk of UBC, particularly when duration of employment is 10 years or more.