Aims: To examine recent trends in incidence rates for cancer types most strongly associated with alcohol use, using data from US cancer registries.
Methods: Age-standardized annual incidence rates (ASIRs) for squamous cell carcinomas of the oral cavity and pharynx, esophagus and larynx diagnosed in the most recent 10-year period (1992-2001) were examined for geographic areas included in the US National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program of high-quality cancer registries.
Results: For all geographic areas combined, ASIRs for these cancers declined over time, with no evidence for a recent plateau or upturn. This also held true for ASIRs in younger adults (age 20-54 years at diagnosis). For white males, declines in ASIRs occurred in each of the 11 geographic areas, and were statistically significant in nine areas. The declines in ASIRs were consistent with temporal declines in apparent alcohol consumption by state, although the prevalence of binge and heavy drinking in adults increased in some states.
Conclusions: Although there was no evidence for a recent plateau in ASIRs, continued surveillance is needed, in view of recent increases in the prevalence of binge and heavy drinking among US adults.