Purpose: The importance of occupational exposures in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) has received little attention.
Methods: In a single-center study, we prospectively characterized occupational exposures in 154 HNSCC cancer patients in a systematic occupational consultation and examined the association between most frequent exposures, HNSCC stage and localization.
Results: Patients occupied a mean of 3.3 different positions during their working life. The prevalence of asbestos, the most frequent exposure (46 patients; 29.9%) was higher than in the French population > 50 years. Other frequent exposures were solvents (n = 26; 16.9%) and silica (n = 19; 12.3%). For 37 patients (24%) a possible link was identified between occupational exposures and HNSCC. Duration of asbestos exposure was significantly higher (p = 0.04) in patients with hypopharyngeal and laryngeal cancer compared to other localizations.
Conclusions: Occupational exposures are frequent in patients with HNSCC and should receive increased attention by physicians.
Keywords: Asbestos; Environmental exposure; Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma; Occupational exposure; Professional disease.