OBJECTIONS: To ascertain whether certain occupations are associated with laryngeal or hypopharyngeal cancer. METHODS: A hospital based case-control study was carried out in 15 hospitals in France. It included 528 male cases diagnosed between January 1989 and April 1991, and 305 male controls with various other types of cancer. Interviews were carried out to obtain lifetime job histories and information on potential confounders. Logistic regression was used to compute the odds ratios (OR) for each of about 80 occupations and industries. RESULTS: There was an excess risk of laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer among service workers (OR 2.2, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.3 to 3.9), agricultural and animal husbandry workers (OR 1.6, 95% CI 0.9 to 2.8), miners and quarrymen (OR 2.0, 95% CI 0.9 to 4.3), plumbers and pipe fitters (OR 2.6, 95% CI 0.8 to 8.1), glass formers and potters (OR 4.3, 95% CI 1.0 to 18) transport equipment operators (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.0 to 2.5), and unskilled workers (OR 1.7, 95% CI 1.0 to 2.9). Analysis by industrial branch showed an excess risk for coal mining (OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.1 to 4.1), manufacture of metal products (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.0 to 3.3), and administration and sanitary services (OR 1.7, 95% CI 1.1 to 2.5). CONCLUSION: These results suggest that occupational exposure might have a role in generating laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer, and indicate the need for further evaluation of these findings, an for the identification of the carcinogens which might account for the excess risks found for certain occupations.
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