In Bangalore, cancer of the oesophagus is the third most common cancer in males and fourth most common in females with average annual age-adjusted incidence rates of 8.2 and 8.9 per 100,000 respectively. A case-control investigation of cancer of the oesophagus was conducted based on the Population-based cancer registry, Bangalore, India. Three hundred and forty-three cases of cancer of the oesophagus were age and sex matched with twice the number of controls from the same area, but with no evidence of cancer. Chewing with or without tobacco was a significant risk factor. In both sexes chewing was not a risk factor for cancer of the upper third of the oesophagus. Among males, non-tobacco chewing was a significant risk factor for the middle third but not for the other two segments and tobacco chewing was a significant risk factor for the lower third of the oesophagus, but not for the other two segments. Bidi smoking in males was a significant risk factor for all three segments being highest for the upper third, less for the middle third and still less for the lower third. The risk of oesophageal cancer associated with alcohol drinking was significant only for the middle third.