• Adenocarcinoma;
  • woodworkers;
  • hardwood


The association between adenocarcinoma of the ethmoid sinuses and woodworkers was identified in the 1960s. Working conditions were poor, and epidemiological studies suggested the carcinogenic agent was hardwood dust created during furniture production. The objectives of this article were to describe the declining incidence of this disease in High Wycombe woodworkers between 1965 and 2012 and to explore the potential reasons for this occurrence.

Study Design

Prospective case series performed at Wycombe General Hospital.


Data were collected for all cases of nasal adenocarcinoma presenting in woodworkers to Wycombe General Hospital between 1965 and 2012. Statistical analysis was performed by calculating the Spearman rank correlation coefficient when comparing different variables from the data.


A total of 105 reported cases of nasal adenocarcinoma were identified among woodworkers working in High Wycombe. Between 1965 and 2012, there was a statistically significant reduction in the incidence of the disease. Statistical analysis suggests that the declining incidence is not solely due to the reducing numbers of workers in the industry. Further analysis suggests a significant relationship between the individuals' ages at which diagnosis was made and the year in which they were diagnosed. Importantly, diagnoses made since 1980 were increasingly among people in their retirement years.


This article describes a statistically significant overall reduction in the incidence of nasal adenocarcinoma in Wycombe woodworkers. This is thought to not solely be due to declining numbers of workers within the industry but also improvements in working conditions following government legislation.

Level of Evidence

4 Laryngoscope, 124:1078–1082, 2014