sex; risk factors; oral HPV; periodontitis, Hispanics, Puerto Rico




Background: Oral and pharyngeal cancer (OPC) is a frequent type of cancer in Puerto Rico, with the risk being higher in men relative to women. We assessed differences in OPC risk factors implicated in these sex disparities.

Methods: We analyzed data of 740 adult participants (40-65 years) from the San Juan Overweight Adults Longitudinal Study (SOALS). A comprehensive questionnaire was administered to collect information on sociodemographic characteristics, cigarette smoking, binge drinking, oral high-risk HPV infection, fruit and vegetable consumption, sexual behavior, and oral hygiene practices. A full-mouth periodontal examination was also performed. Sixteen OPC known and potential risk factors were evaluated. Crude and adjusted prevalence ratio (PR) estimates for individual OPC risk factors, by sex, were calculated using log-binomial regression.

Results: Compared to women, men had significantly increased prevalence of several OPC risk factors including current smoking (PR: 1.91, 95% Confidence interval [CI]: 1.35-2.70), binge drinking (PR: 1.92, 95% CI: 1.31-2.84), and severe periodontitis (PR: 2.05, 95% CI: 1.47-2.85).

Conclusions: Men were significantly more likely than women to have risk factors for OPC. Cancer prevention and control efforts should focus on sex-specific interventions that help reduce this disparity.

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