Interaction between known risk factors for head and neck cancer and socioeconomic status: the Carolina Head and Neck Cancer Study.
Prior studies of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) have explored the effect of socioeconomic status (SES) as an independent risk factor; however, none have investigated the interaction of known risk factors with SES. We examined this using the North Carolina Head and Neck Cancer Epidemiology Study, a population-based case-control study. Incident cases of SCCHN from North Carolina between 2002 and 2006 (n = 1,153) were identified and age, sex, and race-matched controls (n = 1,267) were selected from driver license records. SES measures included household income, educational attainment, and health insurance. Logistic regression was used to estimate adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Current smoking was more strongly associated with SCCHN among those households making < $20,000/year [OR 5.11 (3.61-6.61)] compared to household incomes > $50,000/year [OR 2.47 (1.69-3.25); p interaction < 0.001]. Current drinking was more strongly associated with SCCHN in household incomes < $20,000 [OR 2.91 (2.05-3.78)] compared to > $50,000/year [1.28 (0.97-1.58); p interaction < 0.001]. Current drinkers with less than high school education or income < $20,000 had nearly threefold odds of never-drinkers in the same SES category [OR 2.91 (2.05-3.78); 2.09 (1.39-2.78), respectively]. Our results suggest that the relationship of smoking and alcohol use may be stronger among those of lower SES.
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