Date of Award

January 2014

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Susan T. Mayne

Second Advisor

Leah M. Ferrucci


Background: Previous epidemiologic studies of overall alcohol intake and basal cell carcinoma (BCC) are inconsistent, with some evidence for differences by type of alcoholic beverage. While alcohol may enhance the carcinogenicity of ultraviolet (UV) light, this has not been evaluated in existing epidemiologic studies.

Objective: To evaluate alcohol intake in relation to early-onset BCC, and explore potential interactions with UV exposure.

Methods BCC cases (n=380) and controls with benign skin conditions (n=390) under age 40 were identified through Yale Dermatopathology. Participants provided information on lifetime alcohol intake, including type of beverage during an in-person interview. Self-report data on indoor tanning and outdoor sunbathing were used to categorize UV exposure. We calculated odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) using unconditional multivariate logistic regression in the full sample and in women only.

Results: There was no statistically significant association between lifetime alcohol intake and early-onset BCC overall (above median intake vs. no regular alcohol intake OR 1.10, 95% CI 0.69-1.73) or in women only (OR 1.21, 95% CI 0.73-2.01). Similarly, intake of red wine, white wine, beer or hard liquor and mixed drinks was not associated with early-onset BCC. However, in our full population, but especially in women, we observed a positive association between alcohol and BCC in those with the highest UV exposures (OR 3.09, 95% CI 1.26-7.59).

Conclusions: Although we did not observe an association between lifetime alcohol intake and early-onset BCC, there was a positive association in those with relatively high UV exposures from indoor tanning/sunbathing.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access