A recent study by the American Association for Cancer Research showing that driving a truck for a living is being linked with an aggressive form of prostate cancer. And it’s not the only profession at danger.
The findings were presented at a recent meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. The study also showing that there is an link between working in a garden center for six months and an elevated risk of aggressive prostate cancer.
Participants in the study were approximately 1,800 European-American men and 1,050 African-American men who were recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. The men studied were asked about their most recent job before the diagnosis, in addition to the occupation that they spent the most time at during their lives. The participants were asked whether they spent at least six months or more of their lives as either a landscaper, a garden shop employee, an animal caretaker, or an exterminator. These are jobs that are usually linked with pesticide use.
After the researchers studied their findings, they discovered that men who had spent the most amount of time driving a truck were four times more likely than educators to receive the highly aggressive prostate cancer diagnosis. Researchers used educators as a baseline group, as they were deemed to have no exposure to full-body vibration.
Lead researcher on the study, Dr. L. Joseph Su of the National Cancer Institute, is quick to point out that there is merely an association between driving a truck for a living and aggressive prostate cancer. It is not to suggest that truck driving actually causes prostate cancer. Dr. Su also noted that the lifestyle of the average truck driver could be a possible factor for the cancer diagnosis. There are limited food options on the road and they may not be as physically active due to the fact that they are behind the wheel for a major portion of the day.
The researchers had long suspected that truck drivers may be susceptible, since previous studies hinted that long term full body vibration sustained by men working with heavy duty equipment might increase their risk for developing prostate cancer. It is suggested that the vibration causes the body to produce excess testosterone, a known risk factor in prostate cancer. It can also lead to prostatitis, the inflammation of the prostate gland, which has also been linked to prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers that occur in men. It is usually slow growing and tends to stay confined to the prostate itself. The more aggressive type of prostate cancer, which is what the study was based on, spreads more quickly and becomes dangerous. If prostate cancer is diagnosed early, while it is still only in the prostate gland, the patient has a better chance of treating the disease. Research has also shown that patients who hadn’t undergone treatment for their tumors were more likely to die of something other than prostate cancer.
The study linking truck driving to aggressive prostate cancer is ongoing. Early detection, as in most cases, is the key to diagnosing and treating the disease.
By Mary Kay Love