Oral cancer link to ethnicity

Scientists in the US have discovered a connection between the incidence of oral cancer and race and ethnicity.

The investigation is part of an epidemiologic study of oral cancer in California by researchers at the University of Southern California School of Dentistry in Los Angeles.

Using data from the California Cancer Registry, they examined the incidence rates of invasive oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) from 1988 to 2001.

They then categorised the cancer occurrences by anatomic site and the people who had cancer by ethnicity.

They found that black men have the highest overall incidence rate of OSCC, and that blacks and whites have higher oral cancer rates than Hispanics or Asians.

They also found that the tongue was the most common site of OSCC for all ethnicities.

‘From what we know of how the cancer develops, we can extrapolate that cultural habits and lifestyle choices are directly linked to the prevalence of oral cancer in certain groups,’ said study co-author Dr Satish Kumar, assistant professor at USC School of Dentistry’s Division of Diagnostic Sciences.

Researchers found that black and white men and Koreans had the highest rates of cancer of the tongue and the highest rates of cigarette smoking.

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