RR927 - The burden of occupational cancer in Great Britain: Methodology

This project aimed to estimate the current burden of cancer for Great Britain due to occupational exposure to carcinogenic agents/exposure circumstances classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as definite (Group 1) or probable (Group 2A) human carcinogens.

The measure of the burden of cancer used was the attributable fraction (AF) ie the proportion of cases that would not have occurred in the absence of exposure. For each cancer/exposure pair, risk estimates, adjusted for confounders, were obtained from key industry-based studies, meta-analyses or reviews. The period of exposure relevant to the development of the cancer in the target year 2005 was defined as the risk exposure period (REP) and was assumed to be 1956-1995 for solid tumours and 1986-2005 for haematopoietic neoplasms. National data were used to derive the proportion of the population ever exposed to each carcinogenic agent or occupation in the REP ie the ratio of the numbers ever exposed within GB over the total number of people ever employed. Adjustment was made for staff turnover, life expectancy and industry-employment trends over the REP. Exposed numbers were obtained for high and low exposures matched to appropriate risk estimates from the literature. The AFs were applied to national cancer deaths and registrations to give occupation attributable cancer numbers

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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Updated 2021-04-23