Temporal changes in cumulative mortality risks of cancer, by occupation, in the working population of Japan from 1995 to 2020: A benchmark for radiation risk comparison


Journal of Radiological Protection


The purpose of this study was to provide benchmark data for discussing the tolerability of cancer risk associated with occupational radiation exposure. It focused on differences in cancer mortality risk by occupation among Japan's working population and examined baseline cancer mortality risks and its variations from 1995 through 2020. Data were collected every five years from national vital statistics sources. By focusing on the same types of cancer among radiation induced effects, cumulative mortality risks were calculated for colorectal, lung, and breast cancer (females only) for those aged 15-74. The average cumulative mortality risk for the working population in Japan has decreased by 30%-60% over the past 25 years. Service workers and male managers were at an average risk, among all workers, while clerical workers and transportation and manufacturing workers had about half the average risk. The risks were higher for professionals and female managers, about 1.5-2 times the average for professionals and up to 5 times the average for female managers. The decrease in the average cancer mortality risk in the working population as a baseline suggests that risk tolerance in society might have changed over time. Since differences in mortality by occupation were confirmed, the usefulness of occupational data as a benchmark needs further investigation, as high-risk/low-risk occupations vary by country and region. The results of this study contribute to put radiation risks into perspective with the background risk of cancer.

Journal of Radiological Protection, 14 March 2024

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