Background: In the Rural Cancer Registry at Barshi (western Maharashtra, India), it has been found thatthe incidence of cancer is relatively low. Aim: To explain the low incidence of tobacco related cancers in maleson the basis of prevalence of their tobacco habits. Setting and Design: Simple random sample of villages fromBarshi Rural Cancer Registry. Material and
Methods: A tobacco survey was carried out in 5,319 adult males.Site specific incidence data for Barshi and Mumbai Cancer Registries were available from published reports inthe National Cancer Registry Programme. Published report of prevalence of tobacco habits in Mumbai maleswas available.
Results: The tobacco survey showed that the prevalence of smoking compared to Mumbai waslow (9.9% vs 23.6%) and the incidence of smoking dependent cancers viz., cancers of oropharynx, larynx andlung were significantly low (P<0.05). However, although the proportion of tobacco chewers is higher in Barshicompared to Mumbai, the incidence rates for cancer of hypopharynx and oral cancer which are predominantlychewing dependent did not show higher rate than in Mumbai.
Conclusions: The low incidence of smokingdependent cancers in males can be explained by the low prevalence of smoking habit but further studies areneeded to explain the observed incidence of predominantly chewing dependent cancers.