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Br J Cancer. 2001 Nov 30;85(11):1667-70.

Risk factors for squamous cell carcinoma of the oesophagus in women: a case-control study.

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Department of Medicine & Therapeutics, University of Aberdeen, UK.


Oesophageal cancer rates in women in the UK are more than 3 times higher than in most other European populations. A population-based matched case-control study of histologically confirmed squamous cell carcinoma of the oesophagus in women was carried out in 4 regions in England and Scotland. Interviews were carried out in hospital or at home and topics included: smoking; alcohol; tea and coffee consumption; medical and obstetric history; and diet. Response rates were 62% for cases and 65% for first-chosen controls. There were 159 case-control pairs. Significant results were found for: eating salads (odds ratio (OR) 0.42, 95% CI 0.20-0.92 in the highest quartile of consumption) and a light (as distinct from no) breakfast (OR 0.18, 95% CI 0.07 - 0.48) were protective; quantity of tea was a risk factor and there was a significant positive trend with temperature at which hot drinks were consumed (P = 0.03). Alcohol consumption was unrelated to risk, but there was a significant trend with years of smoking (P = 0.015). A protective effect of aspirin consumption was confined to the English centres (OR 0.08, 95% CI 0.01-0.56). Comparison with a parallel study of adenocarcinoma indicated a common protective effect of a healthy diet but otherwise distinct risk factors.

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