We have previously reported increased risk for cancer in 15508 alcoholic women registered in the Swedish Temperance Boards compared with individually matched controls. Age at first registration was found for 14818 of these women. The women were divided into early and late alcoholic onset groups. Age 45 was used as an approximation for reproductive senescence. For subjects < 45 years at first registration with the Temperance Board we found an increased relative risk (RR) of 1.8 (95% CI 1.5-2.0), whereas for the older age at onset group we found an RR of 1.5 (95% CI 1.3-1.7). Early onset was associated with higher risk of cancer at all sites studied and in all age cohorts. We used the number of Temperance Board registrations as an index of severity of alcoholism; this measure was not associated with risk for cancer.