To study the role of commercial fishing and related factors in the development of lip cancer, a project that included a case-control study and a cohort analysis was undertaken in Newfoundland. Household survey data were linked with cancer-registry and census data. In comparison with other males, fishermen had a probability of development of lip cancer that was 1.5 times higher (by the case-control method, P less than 0.05) or 4.4 times higher (by cohort analysis, P less than 0.001). Despite the effect of pipe smoking, "outdoorness" and age on the development of lip cancer in general, the occupation of fishing was an additional, independent contribution to the risk. Unexpectedly, using the mouth as a third hand to handle tar-coated nets seemed to protect fishermen from the disease. It was not possible to attribute the higher risk to a particular work activity, nor was a specific responsible carcinogen identified.