Epidemiology and risk factors of oral cancer in South Africa

Hille, J. J., Sitas, F., Pacella-Norman, R., Carrara, H., & Shear, M. (2001) Epidemiology and risk factors of oral cancer in South Africa. In Oral Oncology, Elsevier/Pergamon Press, The Hague, S45-S46.

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Head and neck cancers are some of the leading cancers in the coloured and black South African male population and the perception exists that the incidence rates are rising. Aims: To determine the standardised morbidity rates and some of the risk factors for oral cancer in South Africa.


Using histologically verified data from the National Cancer Registry, the age standardised incidence rates (ASIR) and life-time risks (LR) of oral cancer in South Africa were calculated for 1988-1991.2. In an ongoing case control study (1995 +) among black patients in Johannesburg/Soweto, adjusted odds ratios for developing oral cancers in relation to tobacco and alcohol consumption were calculated.

Results: Coloured males vs. females: ASIR 13.13 vs. 3.5 (/100,000/year), LR 1:65 vs. 1:244. Black males vs. females: ASIR 9.06 vs. 1.75, LR 1:86 and 1:455. White males vs. females: ASIR 8.06 vs. 3.18, LR 1:104 vs. 1:278. Asian males vs. females: ASIR 5.24 vs. 6.66, LR 1:161 vs. 1:125. The odds ratio for oral cancer in black males in relation to smoking was 7.0 (95% CI 3.0-14.6) and daily alcohol consumption 1.3 (95% CI 0.6-2.8). In black females the odds ratios in relation to smoking were 3.9 (95% CI 1.7 8.9) and daily alcohol consumption 1.7(95% CI 0.7-4.1).


The risk factors for oral cancer in South Africa are multiple and gender discrepancies in ASIR and LR signal differences in exposure to carcinogens. It is unclear whether the incidence of oral cancers will rise in the future.

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ID Code: 79833
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Additional Information: Export Date: 18 December 2014
Correspondence Address: Hille, J.J.; Department of Oral Pathology, WHO Collaboration Centre for Oral Health in Sub-Saharan Africa, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
ISSN: 1879-0593
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Deposited On: 08 Jan 2015 02:00
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2015 02:01

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