Incidence of cancer among Nordic police officers

Sanna Heikkinen, Paul A. Demers, Johnni Hansen, Jarle Jakobsen, Kristina Kjaerheim, Elsebeth Lynge, Jan Ivar Martinsen, Ingrid Sivesind Mehlum, Janne Pitkäniemi, Jenny Selander, Jóhanna Torfadóttir, Elisabete Weiderpass, Eero Pukkala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Police work may expose officers to various circumstances that have potential for increasing their risk of cancer, including traffic-related air pollution, night shift work and radiation from radars. In this study, we examined the incidence of cancer among Nordic male and female police officers. We utilize data from the Nordic Occupational Cancer (NOCCA) project, which linked census data on occupations from Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden to national cancer registries for the period 1961 to 2005. We report standardized incidence ratios (SIR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) of selected cancers for each country by sex, age and calendar period. The cohort included 38 523 male and 1998 female police officers. As compared with the general population, male police officers had a 7% (95% CI: 4-9%) excess cancer risk, with elevated SIRs for various cancer sites, including prostate (SIR 1.19, 1.14-1.25), breast (SIR 1.77, 1.05-2.80), colon (SIR 1.22, 1.12-1.32) and skin melanoma (SIR 1.44, 1.28-1.60). Conversely, male police officers had a lower risk of lung cancer than the general population (SIR 0.72, 0.66-0.77). In female police officers, the SIR for cancer overall was 1.15 (0.98-1.34), and there was a slight excess of cancers of the breast (SIR 1.25, 0.97-1.59) and colon (SIR 1.21, 0.55-2.30). In conclusion, cancer incidence among the police officers was slightly higher than in the general population. Notably, SIRs were elevated for cancer sites potentially related to night shift work, namely colon, breast and prostate cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1124-1136
JournalInternational journal of cancer
Issue number6
Early online date4 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • cancer risk
  • exposure
  • occupation
  • police officers

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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