Objectives: To investigate dietary factors for squamous cell esophageal cancer and whether these factors may contribute to the five-fold higher incidence of this cancer in the black versus white population of the United States.
Methods: Data from a food frequency questionnaire were analyzed for 114 white men and 219 black men with squamous cell esophageal cancer, and 681 white and 557 black male controls from three areas of the United States who participated in a population-based case-control study of esophageal cancer.
Results: Protective effects were associated with intake of raw fruits and vegetables (odds ratio for high versus low consumers = 0.3 in both white and black men) and use of vitamin supplements (especially vitamin C; odds ratio for high versus low consumers = 0.4 in both races), with the frequency of consumption of raw fruits and vegetables and vitamin supplements being greater for white than black controls. In addition, elevated risks were associated with high versus low intake of red meat (OR = 2.7 for blacks and 1.5 for whites) and processed meat (OR = 1.6 for blacks and 1.7 for whites), with the levels of consumption being greater for black than white controls.
Conclusions: In the United States, these dietary factors may contribute in part to the much higher incidence of squamous cell esophageal cancer among black compared to white men.