Cancer mortality and farming in South Korea: An ecologic study

Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Korea University, Seoul, 136-705, Korea.
Cancer Causes and Control (Impact Factor: 2.74). 07/2008; 19(5):505-13. DOI: 10.1007/s10552-008-9112-2
Source: PubMed


The aim of this study was to examine the geographical difference of cancer mortality to determine any potential associations between cancer mortality and farming in South Korea.
We calculated standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) based on age- and gender-specific cancer mortality rates for 245 geographic areas, using the registered death data from 2000 to 2004 that were obtained from the Korea National Statistical Office. Using the data from the Agriculture Census in 1995, we obtained the farming index. Poisson regression analysis was used to evaluate the associations between cancer mortality and farming after adjustment for socioeconomic factors.
The SMR analyses based on 62,403 annual average cancer deaths yielded regional variations for all cancers combined in men (SMR = 70-192) and women (SMR = 80-132). With increasing farming index we found significantly elevated cancer mortality of esophagus, stomach, brain, and leukemia for men, and of esophagus and stomach for women, whereas the SMR for colorectal and gall bladder cancers were inversely associated with farming. The results were similar when the analyses were repeated after the exclusion of metropolitan areas.
Our findings suggest a possible association between farming and mortality from a few cancer sites in South Korea.

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    • "( n ¼ 4 ) identified risk factors for health outcomes using estimated exposure at the aggregate level based on a geographically limited area . The studies employing this method utilized area - level pesticide - use information to determine the relationship between exposure and cancer or Parkinson ' s [ Mills et al . , 2005 ; Dodge et al . , 2007 ; Lee et al . , 2008 ; Moisan et al . , 2011 ] . There is no uniform approach to capturing work task or exposure information , yielding a diverse taxonomy of classifications used in the papers under review . The most frequent means of assessing occupational exposure were by job title , with a number of studies ( n ¼ 11 ) relying primarily on this indicator "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Farmwork is one of the most hazardous occupations for men and women. Research suggests sex/gender shapes hazardous workplace exposures and outcomes for farmworkers. This paper reviews the occupational health literature on farmworkers, assessing how gender is treated and interpreted in exposure-outcome studies.Methods The paper evaluates peer-reviewed articles on men and women farmworkers' health published between 2000 and 2012 in PubMed or SCOPUS. Articles were identified and analyzed for approaches toward sampling, data analysis, and use of exposure indicators in relation to sex/gender.Results18% of articles reported on and interpreted sex/gender differences in health outcomes and exposures. Sex/gender dynamics often shaped health outcomes, yet adequate data was not collected on established sex/gender risk factors relating to study outcomes.Conclusion Research can better incorporate sex/gender analysis into design, analytical and interpretive approaches to better explore its mediation of health outcomes in light of emerging calls to mainstream gender research. Am. J. Ind. Med. 9999:1–24, 2014. © 2014 The Authors. American Journal of Industrial Medicine Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · American Journal of Industrial Medicine
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    • "Agricultural workers showed a higher mortality of total cancers as well as most cancer sites except colorectum, compared to other populations. A previous ecologic study demonstrated an increased risk of cancer mortality in rural areas (26), and a cohort study reported an elevated risk for total cancer and digestive cancer among farmers exposed to pesticides in Korea (27). Work-related factors such as exposure to pesticides, organic and inorganic dusts, zoonotic viruses, fertilizers, and nitrates have been suggested as the possible risk factor to explain the increased rate of cancer among agricultural workers (28). "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this paper was to provide an overview of mortality and disease prevalence related to occupational diseases among agricultural workers in Korea. We evaluated the age-standardized mortality rates and the prevalence of chronic diseases and compared them with those of other populations using death registration data from 2004 through 2008 and the 2005 Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. In addition, we conducted a literature review on published articles examining the health status of farmers in Korea. Agricultural workers have a significantly higher mortality of cancer, tuberculosis, chronic respiratory diseases, liver diseases, suicide, motor and non-motor vehicle accidents. Compared to other populations, farmers have higher prevalence rates of arthritis and intervertebral disc disorders. The literature review revealed a number of work-related diseases among farmers, such as musculoskeletal diseases, pesticide poisoning, infections, and respiratory and neurologic diseases. Korean farmers demonstrate a distinct pattern of mortality and disease prevalence compared to other populations. Although lifestyle factors remain important contributors to those deaths and diseases, our study suggests that occupation is a major determinant as well. Intensive programs such as surveillance systems, therefore, should be developed in order to identify and prevent work-related diseases among agricultural workers in Korea.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2010 · Journal of Korean medical science
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    • "Several factors may contribute to the lower rate of total cancer including a healthier lifestyle manifested by lower cigarette use and an occupation that has traditionally required high levels of physical activity. However, previous ecologic study in South Korea demonstrated that rural areas retain an increased risk of cancer mortality [36] over the total population. This discrepancy between prevalence and mortality may in part be explained by rural population general entrance into the health care system at a later point and with more advanced stages of diseases than urban residents due to lower incomes and less education [37]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Epidemiologic studies have suggested a unique pattern of disease among farmers in Western countries, but limited information is available about the magnitude of disease prevalence and their changes over time in Asian farmers. The aim of this study was to compare the prevalence and changes in chronic diseases among farmers with those of other occupational groups in South Korea. Using data from three consecutive cross-sectional national surveys: the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1998 (n = 39,060), 2001 (n = 37,769), and 2005 (n = 34,145), we calculated age and gender-standardized prevalence of chronic diseases by the direct method and compared the prevalence changes from 1998 to 2005. Female farmers had significantly higher chronic disease prevalence than other occupational groups in all three surveys. Arthritis was the most prevalent chronic disease among farmers for both men and women. Compared with other populations, farmers demonstrated a higher prevalence of arthritis and intervertebral disc disorders. Farmers showed higher prevalence changes for intervertebral disc disorders than other occupational workers. Our findings support that South Korean farmers have a distinct pattern of diseases prevalence from other populations. More detailed studies investigating the risk of musculoskeletal diseases and intensive intervention efforts to reduce the prevalence these diseases, particularly among female farmers, are required.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2009 · BMC Public Health
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