The Risk of Lung Cancer After Cessation of Asbestos Exposure in Construction Workers Using Pleural Malignant Mesothelioma as a Marker of Exposure

Objective: To study the risk of lung cancer in heavily asbestos-exposed workers after the exposure to asbestos has ended.
Methods: Lung cancer was studied in a cohort of 189,896 Swedish construction workers through a linkage with the Swedish Cancer Registry. Asbestos exposure was estimated by the incidence of malignant mesothelioma in the occupational group.
Results: There were in total 2835 cases of lung cancer. Workers with heavy exposure to asbestos had an increased risk of lung cancer (relative risks = 1.74; 95% confidence interval, 1.25 to 2.41) before exposure ended and a similar risk to those with low exposure 20 years after the exposure had ceased (relative risks = 0.94; 95% confidence interval, 0.77 to 1.15).
Conclusions: Workers with heavy exposure to asbestos have a similar risk of lung cancer as persons with low or no exposure 20 years after the exposure has ended.

Source: Järvholm, Bengt; Åström, Evelina. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: December 2014, Volume 56, Issue 12, p. 1297–1301.

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