Cancer incidence and mortality among underground and surface goldminers in Western Australia


Peters S, Reid A, Fritschi L, Musk AW, de Klerk N

Authors notes:

British Journal of Cancer. 2013;108(9):1879-1882


Cohort study, Lung cancer, Prostate cancer, Underground mining


In a cohort of goldminers, we estimated cancer mortality and incidence, for both surface and underground workers, and we examined the hypothesis that (underground) mining may be protective against prostate cancer.

During 52 608 person-years of follow-up among 2294 goldminers, 1922 deaths were observed.

For any cancer, mortality was increased for the total group of miners.

In the Cox models, lung cancer mortality and incidence were particularly increased among underground miners, even after adjustment for smoking.

The SMR for prostate cancer suggested a lower risk for underground miners, whereas incidence of prostate cancer was significantly increased among underground miners.

Overall cancer mortality and incidence was higher among Western Australian goldminers compared with the general male population, particularly for underground mining.

This study does not support the hypothesis that miners have a decreased risk of prostate cancer.

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