The excess incidence of squamous cell esophageal cancer among us black men. Role of social class and other risk factors
PURPOSE: To investigate the relationship between social class factors and squamous cell esophageal cancer and the extent to which alcohol, tobacco, diet, and social class contribute to the five-fold higher incidence among black than white men in the United States.METHODS: Interviews were conducted with 347 incident cases of squamous cell esophageal cancer (119 white males and 228 black males) and 1354 population-based controls (743 white males and 611 black males) from Atlanta, Detroit, and New Jersey. Risks were estimated using unconditional logistic regression controlling for potential confounders.RESULTS: Elevated risks of squamous cell esophageal cancer were associated with indicators of low social class, especially low annual income. The adjusted odds ratios (ORs) for subjects with incomes < $10,000 versus incomes of $25,000 or more were 4.3 (95% CI = 2.1-8.7) for whites and 8.0 (95% CI = 4.3-15.0) for blacks. The combination of all four major risk factors: annual income less than $25,000, moderate/heavy use of alcohol, use of tobacco for six months or longer, and consumption of less than 2.5 servings of raw fruits and vegetables per day accounted for almost all of the squamous cell esophageal cancers in whites (98%) and blacks (99%), and for 99% of the excess incidence among black men.CONCLUSIONS: Lifestyle modifications, especially a lower intake of alcoholic beverages, would markedly decrease the incidence of this cancer in both races and narrow the racial disparity in risk. Further studies into the determinants of social class may help identify a new set of exposures for this tumor that are amendable to intervention.