1Sinus and Surgical Endoscopic Research Center, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.
2Cancer Research Center, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.
3Addiction Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran
4Occupational Sleep Research Center, Otorhinolaryngology Research Center, Imam Khomeini Hospital Complex, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
5General Medical Practitioner, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran
6Volunteer of the Sinus and Surgical Endoscopic Research Center, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.
Introduction: Cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption have a well-known effect on the development of upper aerodigestive tract carcinomas, but such a role for opium is questionable. This study was designed to assess the correlation between opium inhalation and cancer of the larynx and upper esophagus. Materials and Methods: Fifty eight patients with laryngeal cancer, ninety eight patients with upper esophageal cancer and twenty seven healthy individuals with no evidence of head and neck or esophageal malignancies were selected from Otolaryngology and Radiation Oncology Department of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences. Duration and amount of cigarette smoking and opium consumption were recorded through comprehensive interviews. Results: The crude odds ratio for laryngeal cancer was 5.58 (95% CI 2.05-15.15, P=0.000) in cigarette smokers relative to non-smokers and 9.09 (95% CI 3.21-25.64, P=0.000) in opium users relative to non-users. The crude odds ratio for esophageal cancer was 0.44 (95% CI 0.18-1.09, P=0.07) in cigarette smokers relative to non-smokers and 1.44 (95% CI 0.57-3.62, P=0.43) in opium users relative to non-users. After adjusting for smoking, the odds ratio for laryngeal cancer in opium users relative to non-users was 6.06 (95% CI 1.10-33.23, P=0.05). Laryngeal cancer was detected at a significantly lower age in opium users (54.54±10.93 vs 62.92±10.10 years, P=0.02) than in smokers. This effect was not observed in esophageal cancer. Although the duration (year 17.50±14.84 vs 21.91±14.03; P=0.34) and amount (pack/day 0.625 vs 0.978; P=0.06) of smoking were higher among those who were opium dependent, these differences were not statistically significant (P=0.34 and P=0.06, respectively). Conclusion: Opium addiction by snuffing is an independent risk factor for the development laryngeal cancer but not esophageal cancer. Cigarette smoking increases this risk. Opium dependency increases the likelihood of developing laryngeal cancer at a younger age.
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