Patients with oral or pharyngeal cancer in the two main textile regions of England were matched for age and sex with patients having cancers not known to be associated with textile work. Data were recorded on age, sex, cancer site, and smoking, chewing and drinking habits together with dental and occupational history. There were 102 and 61 matched pairs of males and 52 and 60 matched pairs of females in the North-west and West Yorkshire regions respectively. There were significantly (P less than 0.05) more textile workers in the cases compared with their matched controls for only the females in the North-west. No particular type of textile work occurred more frequently for the cases than the controls in all four matched comparisons. Only for the males in the North-west were there significant differences (P less than 0.05) in the proportions of textile workers in the three cancer sites of the tongue, mouth and pharynx. These results do not confirm the association between textile work and oral or pharyngeal cancer found by the mortality study of Moss and Lee (1974). The results for the association between oral or pharyngeal cancer and smoking, drinking, chewing and wearing of dentures are discussed.
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