Health Consultation Assessment of Drinking Water Quality And Cancer Incidence Scituate, ma

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b. Kidney Cancer

1) Age Distribution

Epidemiological studies have shown that incidence rates of kidney cancer rise with increasing age before reaching a plateau at approximately age 70 (McLaughlin 1996). This pattern was observed among the individuals diagnosed with kidney cancer in Scituate. The


incidence of kidney cancer generally increased in the town with increasing age, with 57% of the cases diagnosed over the age of 60 years.

2) Smoking Status

Smoking is a major risk factor for the development of kidney cancer. Smoking status at time of diagnosis was reviewed for those individuals diagnosed with kidney cancer in Scituate to determine whether smoking may have played a role in the development of this cancer. Unfortunately, smoking status information was unknown for nearly half (43%) of the individuals diagnosed with kidney cancer during the time period evaluated in. Seven individuals reported being either a current or former smoker at time of diagnosis and five reported having never smoked. Due to the limited data, the role that smoking may have played in the incidence of kidney cancer in Scituate is unclear. Smoking, however, may have been a contributing factor in the diagnosis of some individuals with kidney cancer in Scituate.

3) Occupation

The CAU also reviewed occupation as reported to the MCR for males and females diagnosed with kidney cancer and residing in Scituate during the 1987-1997 time period. This information was reviewed to determine whether occupational factors may have contributed to the development of kidney cancer in some individuals in the town.

Some occupational exposures to particular chemicals are thought to increase the risk of developing kidney cancer. Exposure to cadmium is associated with an increased incidence of kidney cancer (Linehan WM et al, 1997). In addition, some studies have shown an increased incidence of this cancer type among leather tanners, shoe workers, and workers exposed to asbestos. For the majority of individuals (57%), the occupational data were incomplete (i.e., listed as unknown or retired) to define exposure potential. However, for those individuals for which an occupation was listed, none have been suggested to be associated with the development of kidney cancer. It should be noted, however, that the occupational


information reported to the MCR is generally limited to job title and often does not include specific job duty information that could further define exposure potential for individual cases.

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