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J Prev Med Public Health. 2011 Jul;44(4):185-189. English. Brief Communication.
Cho SH , Sung J , Kim J , Ju YS , Han M , Jung KW .
Department of Preventive Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Cancer Registry, National Cancer Center of Korea, Goyang, Korea.
Department of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital, Anyang, Korea.

OBJECTIVES: In 1995, an outbreak survey in Gozan-dong concluded that an association between fiberglass exposure in drinking water and cancer outbreak cannot be established. This study follows the subjects from a study in 1995 using a data linkage method to examine whether an association existed. The authors will address the potential benefits and methodological issues following outbreak surveys using data linkage, particularly when informed consent is absent. METHODS: This is a follow-up study of 697 (30 exposed) individuals out of the original 888 (31 exposed) participants (78.5%) from 1995 to 2007 assessing the cancer outcomes and deaths of these individuals. The National Cancer Registry (KNCR) and death certificate data were linked using the ID numbers of the participants. The standardized incidence ratio (SIR) and standardized mortality ratio (SMR) from cancers were calculated by the KNCR. RESULTS: The SIR values for all cancer or gastrointestinal cancer (GI) occurrences were the lowest in the exposed group (SIR, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.10 to 5.21; 0.00 for GI), while the two control groups (control 1: external, control 2: internal) showed slight increases in their SIR values (SIR, 1.18 and 1.27 for all cancers; 1.62 and 1.46 for GI). All lacked statistical significance. All-cause mortality levels for the three groups showed the same pattern (SMR 0.37, 1.29, and 1.11). CONCLUSIONS: This study did not refute a finding of non-association with a 13-year follow-up. Considering that many outbreak surveys are associated with a small sample size and a cross-sectional design, follow-up studies that utilize data linkage should become standard procedure.

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