Occurrence of oral and pharyngeal cancers in textile workers

Br J Ind Med. 1974 Jul;31(3):224-32. doi: 10.1136/oem.31.3.224.


Moss, E. and Lee, W. R. (1974).British Journal of Industrial Medicine,31, 224-232. Occurrence of oral and pharyngeal cancers in textile workers. The occupations of male textile workers who died of oral and pharyngeal cancers in the five years 1959-63 have been examined to discover whether the high incidence of oral cancer in these workers noted by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys (1972) is associated with particular textile occupations or fibres.

There was a 77% excess of deaths from these cancers in male textile workers as a whole compared with the male population of England and Wales, the excess being significant at the 0·1% level. An excess occurred in each of the three sites tongue (ICD 141), mouth (ICD 143, 144), and pharynx (ICD 145-148) and is significant at the 5% level in the first two sites but not in the third.

Fibre preparers had an excess of 330% which is significant at the 0·01% level. Weavers and knitters had a deficit of 32% and the remaining three groups had moderate excesses of from 32 to 85%, none of the four being statistically significant.

In the 1951 census there were 8 414 male cotton workers and 14 723 male wool workers engaged in fibre preparing. There was one death from oral cancer in cotton fibre preparers and 18 deaths in wool fibre preparers. The difference is significant at the 1% level. The difference is also significant for the individual sites pharynx and tongue but not mouth.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • England
  • Female
  • Gossypium
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Mouth Neoplasms / mortality
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / mortality
  • Pharyngeal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Pharyngeal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Textile Industry*
  • Tongue Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Tongue Neoplasms / mortality
  • Wales
  • Wool