Background: There are studies suggesting that participation in musical activities may protect from cancer. On the other hand, some musicians have a lifestyle that might increase the risk of cancer. The objective of this study was to assess the cancer pattern of musicians in four Nordic countries. Material and methods: This study combines census and cancer registry data from 1961 to 2005 for 13 million people from Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. Standardized incidence ratio (SIR) analyses were conducted with the cancer incidence rates for entire national populations used as reference rates. Results: There were 11,401 male and 3105 female musicians with 2039 cancer cases. The SIR for all sites combined was 1.02 (95% confidence interval 0.97–1.07) in men and 1.04 (0.94–1.15) in women. In male musicians, there were statistically significant excesses in oropharyngeal cancer (4.36, 2.73–6.60), esophageal cancer (2.08, 1.51–2.81), liver cancer (1.81, 1.26–2.52), and skin melanoma (1.40, 1.10–1.75). The risk was decreased in lip cancer (0.13, 0.02–0.48), stomach cancer (0.66, 0.50–0.82), and lung cancer (0.77, 0.65–0.90). In female musicians, there were no statistically significant SIRs in any of the cancer types studied, but the risk of breast cancer was significantly elevated in the age category of 70+ (1.52, 1.04–2.15). The overall SIR was stable over the 45 year period of observation, but strong decreases were observed in the SIRs of esophageal cancer, liver cancer, laryngeal cancer, and skin melanoma. Conclusion: Musicians have characteristics of indoor workers such as low incidence of lip cancer and high incidence of skin melanoma. The low incidence of lung cancer suggests that the prevalence of smoking among musicians is lower than in the general population while the elevated risk of alcohol-related cancer types suggest that drinking is likely more common among musicians. The cancer risk for all sites combined is still similar to that of the general population in the four countries studied.
- Jufo-taso 1
!!ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging