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Study Ties Truck Vibrations to Aggressive Prostate Cancer Risk

Update Date: Oct 30, 2013 09:36 AM EDT

Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer that men are diagnosed with. Even though prostate cancer can be mild in the majority of cases, researchers have found certain factors that could exacerbate the condition. Based on the information from previous studies, researchers knew that there was a strong association between full body vibrations, which could occur when men work with heavy machinery, and prostate cancer risk. In a new study, researchers decided to examine the effects of the vibrations frequently experienced by truck drivers and the drivers' risk of aggressive prostate cancer.

For this study, the research team from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the Louisiana State University School of Public Health, the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY reviewed medical information on 2,132 men. The participants were from the North Carolina-Louisiana Prostate Cancer Project. The data included demographics, health issues, job descriptions, time of prostate cancer diagnoses and amount of time invested in their jobs.

The researchers reported that men who had jobs that required truck driving were four times more likely than educators to be diagnosed with highly aggressive prostate cancer. The educators were considered the study's baseline because they were the least likely to be exposed to vibrations. The researchers stated that even though truck driving had the highest association to prostate cancer risk, it was not the only occupation that did. The team stated that men who worked in a garden shop for at least half a year were 2.33 times more likely to have aggressive prostate cancer when compared to the educators.

Although the researchers are not sure why vibrations are tied to prostate cancer risk, they reasoned that the repeated movements could prompt the body to produce testosterone and an increased level of this hormone has been connected to prostate cancer risk. Another explanation is that vibrations lead to prostatitis, which is when the prostate gland becomes inflamed. The inflammation could be a contributor of cancer growth.

The study was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research's International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research in National Harbor, MD.

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