Context: Cervical cancer is the second most common malignancy among women in India. There is thus a need to identify unexplored risk factors such as occupational exposure to tobacco dust to justify its increasing trend so as to recommend suitable preventive measures. Aims: The aim was to study the association between occupational exposure to tobacco dust with development of carcinoma cervix. Settings and Design: Case-control study done in two tertiary care hospitals in Mangalore. Methodology: 239 histologically confirmed new cases of cervical cancer and the equivalent number of age-matched controls from 2011 to 2012 were interviewed about occupational history of beedi rolling and related factors. Statistical Analysis: Chi-square test, unpaired t-test, logistic regression. Results: Exposure rate to tobacco dust following beedi rolling was 63 (26.4%) among cases and 38 (15.9%) among controls (P = 0.005, odds ratio [OR] =1.893). The latent period from occupational exposure of tobacco dust subsequent to beedi rolling and development of cervical cancer was found to be 26.5 ± 8.5 years. Adjusted OR of beedi rolling with development of cervical cancer was found to be 1.913 (P = 0.005) after controlling the confounding effect of tobacco usage and was 1.618 (P = 0.225) after controlling the effects of all confounders. Three-quarters of beedi rollers were working in conditions of inadequate ventilation and hardy anybody used face mask during work. About a quarter of participants underwent voluntary screening for cervical cancer. Conclusion: Occupational exposure to tobacco dust was found to be associated with risk of developing cervical cancer. Measures to promote awareness, timely screening of this disease along with the improvement in working conditions is required for improving the health status of beedi rollers and to minimize the incidence of carcinoma cervix in the community.
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