Journal Article

Alcohol Concentration and Risk of Oral Cancer in Puerto Rico

Wen-Yi Huang, Deborah M. Winn, Linda M. Brown, Gloria Gridley, Eleuterio Bravo-Otero, Scott R. Diehl, Joseph F. Fraumeni and Richard B. Hayes

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 157, issue 10, pages 881-887
Published in print May 2003 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online May 2003 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI:
Alcohol Concentration and Risk of Oral Cancer in Puerto Rico

Show Summary Details


Alcohol consumption is a major risk factor for cancers of the mouth and pharynx (oral cancer), but the differential risks by beverage type are unclear. In this 1992–1995 study, the authors examined oral cancer risk in Puerto Rico, comparing alcohol intake among 286 male cases aged 21–79 years and 417 population-based male controls, frequency matched by age. Heavy consumers of liquor (≥43 drinks per week) had strongly increased risks of oral cancer (odds ratio = 6.4, 95% confidence interval: 2.4, 16.8); beer/wine showed only modest effects. Among liquor drinkers, risks were consistently greater for those who drank straight (undiluted) liquor than for those who usually drank mixed (diluted) liquor (odds ratio = 4.0, 95% confidence interval: 2.4, 6.7). Risks associated with combined exposure to tobacco were also more pronounced when subjects drank liquor straight. The elevated risks associated with drinking homemade rum were similar to those for other types of liquor. These results suggest that alcohol concentration is a risk factor for oral cancer independent of the total quantity of alcohol consumed.

Keywords: alcohol drinking; alcoholic beverages; Hispanic Americans; mouth neoplasms; pharynx; Abbreviations: CI, confidence interval; OR, odds ratio.

Journal Article.  4197 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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