Comparison of Lifestyle and Living Environment Among High Risk Immigrant and Low Risk Host Residents: Implications for Esophageal Cancer Etiology


Background: It has been hypothesized that the high prevalence of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma(ESCC) in China is associated with specific environments and lifestyles. A previous study found that immigrantresidents (IR) from Henan, residing long term in the town of Caihu, had significantly greater risk of dyingfrom ESCC than host residents (HR).
Objectives: This study was conducted to compare lifestyle and livingenvironments between high risk IR and low risk HR to determine risk factors for ESCC.
Methods: The subjectsincluded randomly selected IR and HR living in Caihu. Information on lifestyle and the living environment ofparticipants was collected by interview using a structured questionnaire.
Results: The IR were found to have ahigher consumption of hot food (P<0.05), pickled vegetables (P<0.05) and a lower consumption of fresh fruitsand vegetables, and alcohol (P<0.05), compared with the HR. There were no significant differences in incomeand cigarette smoking between the two populations. Fewer IR families had a separate kitchen (P<0.05) than hostfamilies.
Conclusions: Our study provided some epidemiological evidence indicating that dietary factors, suchas hot food, pickled vegetables, salt, and low fruit and vegetable intake, as well as a poor living environment,are possibly related to the higher prevalence of ESCC in IR. However, cigarette smoking, alcohol drinking andincome were not shown to be risk factors for immigrant susceptibility to ESCC in our study.