Colon cancer incidence among modelmakers and patternmakers in the automobile manufacturing industry: A continuing dilemma

G. Marie Swanson, Steven H. Belle, Robert W. Burrows

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    32 Scopus citations


    Modelmakers and patternmakers in an automobile manufacturing corporation located in the Detroit metropolitan area expressed concern about cancer incidence in their work group. In particular, previous studies among woodworking patternmakers and modelmakers employed in the automobile manufacturing industry found excesses in the incidence of cancers of the colon and rectum. To determine cancer incidence among the study corporation’s woodworkers, a computerized record linkage study was performed. Cancer incidence data from the Michigan Cancer Foundation Division of Epidemiology’s Metropolitan Detroit Cancer Surveillance System (MDCSS) were linked with corporate records for their woodworkers. In this group of 316 workers, ten cancers were found, four of which were colon cancers. A standard morbidity ratio analysis revealed a statistically significant excess of colon cancer in the woodworkers, compared with a general population group matched for race, gender and age (SMR = 487.0, p<.01). These results are consistent with observations made in previous studies. The question raised by these findings is whether an occupational exposure contributes to this excess occurrence of colon cancers or whether these groups share some other common attributes, such as dietary habits.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)567-569
    Number of pages3
    JournalJournal of Occupational Medicine
    Issue number8
    StatePublished - Aug 1985


    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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