Pancreatic Cancer Risk Heightened By Two Alcoholic Drinks Each Day

Jun 5, 2009 by

Pancreatic Cancer Risk Heightened By Two Alcoholic Drinks Each Day

Alcohol, drunk in large amounts, certainly does great damage to one’s health, especially on the liver. It probably raises cancer risk, too, as other studies have suggested. But how about moderate drinking?

It is arguable if two alcoholic drinks every day can be considered moderate drinking. In any case, a study has found that even that amount can raise cancer risk, and this is discussed in the following article.

Two Alcoholic Drinks Daily Raise Pancreatic Cancer Risk

by Reuben Chow

The body of evidence linking alcohol consumption with increased cancer risk has been added to by a study recently published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, which found that drinking two alcoholic drinks every day can increase one’s risk of getting pancreatic cancer.

Details and Findings of Study

The study team, led by Jeanine M Genkinger, an assistant professor of oncology at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University, Washington, DC, had examined the findings of 14 studies previously conducted on the subject of alcohol consumption and pancreatic cancer. The 14 studies covered a total of almost 863,000 men and women. Of the group, 2,187 persons were diagnosed with the disease.

Based on available information on the study subjects’ dietary habits, the researchers found that persons who consumed two or more alcoholic drinks per day had 22% increased risk of pancreatic cancer, as compared to those who stayed off such beverages. Here, one drink was defined by 4 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.

Zooming in, the study team discovered that two or more drinks a day raised women’s risk by 41%, while only elevating men’s risk by 12%, the latter figure not having statistical significance. When the bar for men was raised to more than three drinks, their increased risk for a particular type of pancreatic cancer, adenocarcinoma, was found to be 60%, a figure which had become statistically significant; adenocarcinomas are the most common type of pancreatic cancer. This suggests that men have a higher tolerance for alcohol.

One interesting finding was that the effect of alcohol on pancreatic cancer was more pronounced among persons in the healthy weight range. However, before those who are overweight or obese rejoice, this, according to the researchers, is likely down to the fact that obesity is already a strong risk factor for the disease, and that could have masked the effects of alcohol on pancreatic cancer risk for the overweight subjects.

Another interesting finding was that the effects of alcohol were the same regardless of the type which was consumed.

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