The incidence of oropharyngeal cancer in Taiwan: an endemic betel quid chewing area


Chih-Cheng Tsai
Graduate Institute of Dental Sciences, No.100 Shih-Chuan 1st Road, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung 807, Taiwan


Background:  Orapharyngeal cancer is the one of the most common cancers in the world. The purpose of this study was to examine the trends in oropharyngeal cancer from 1979 to 1996 in Taiwan.

Methods:  Traditional cohort analysis was employed to show the birth-cohort effect of oropharyngeal cancer incidence. Age-period-cohort model analysis was used to examine the age, period and cohort effect between intraoral and pharyngeal cancer.

Result:  A significant increasing trend in oropharyngeal cancer has been seen in males. The principal increases have been seen in tongue and mouth in males, and tongue in females. In males, an increasing trend was found in successive cohorts born after 1929. The increase in incidence of intraoral cancer of males was greater than the increase in incidence of pharyngeal cancer in the younger age group, more recent time periods and the younger cohorts.

Conclusion:  The increasing incidence in oropharyngeal cancer in Taiwan is probably heavily influenced by the rising consumption of alcohol and use of betel quid. The effect of these etiologies on intraoral cancer was more significant in recent time periods, later cohorts and the younger group.