• men;
  • Europe;
  • education;
  • alcohol-related cancers;
  • mortality


We aim to study socioeconomic inequalities in alcohol related cancers mortality [upper aerodigestive tract (UADT) (oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus and liver)] in men and to investigate whether the contribution of these cancers to socioeconomic inequalities in cancer mortality differs within Western Europe. We used longitudinal mortality datasets, including causes of death. Data were collected during the 1990s among men aged 30–74 years in 13 European populations [Madrid, the Basque region, Barcelona, Turin, Switzerland (German and Latin part), France, Belgium (Walloon and Flemish part, Brussels), Norway, Sweden, Finland]. Socioeconomic status was measured using the educational level declared at the census at the beginning of the follow-up period. We conducted Poisson regression analyses and used both relative [Relative index of inequality (RII)] and absolute (mortality rates difference) measures of inequality. For UADT cancers, the RII's were above 3.5 in France, Switzerland (both parts) and Turin whereas for liver cancer they were the highest (around 2.5) in Madrid, France and Turin. The contribution of alcohol related cancer to socioeconomic inequalities in cancer mortality was 29–36% in France and the Spanish populations, 17–23% in Switzerland and Turin, and 5–15% in Belgium and the Nordic countries. We did not observe any correlation between mortality rates differences for lung and UADT cancers, confirming that the pattern found for UADT cancers is not only due to smoking. This study suggests that alcohol use substantially influences socioeconomic inequalities in male cancer mortality in France, Spain and Switzerland but not in the Nordic countries and nor in Belgium. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.