More Research Links Alcohol Intake to Cancer Risk

In men, regular drinkers face higher risk of cancer at sites including stomach, esophagus

MONDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Men who drink moderate or high amounts of alcohol over their lifetime may face a higher risk of several types of cancer, according to research published in the current issue of Cancer Detection and Prevention.

Andrea Benedetti, Ph.D., of McGill University in Montreal, and colleagues analyzed data from about 3,000 middle-aged and older men diagnosed with a variety of cancers in the early 1980s, as well as 507 population controls. Subjects reported on their history of alcohol consumption.

Among regular drinkers, the researchers found that lifetime drink-years of all alcoholic beverages appeared to have a dose-response association with risk of esophageal, stomach, colon, liver, lung, and prostate cancer. In the heaviest drinkers, odds ratios for cancer ranged from 1.6 for lung cancer to 7.9 for liver cancer.

"Our results indicate that alcohol might have an effect on several sites. This suggests that alcohol may have a systemic effect (e.g., due to effects on DNA repair or on the immune system). Because of the extent of exposure to alcohol and the number of cancer sites potentially affected, the present results suggest that alcohol consumption might have greater public health significance than previously thought," the authors conclude.

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Eric Metcalf

Eric Metcalf

Published on August 10, 2009

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