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Encyclopedia > Alcohol and cancer
Alcohol consumption and health
Alcohol and cancer
Alcohol and cardiovascular disease
Alcohol and weight
Alcoholic liver disease
Alcoholism
Effects of alcohol on the body
Fetal alcohol syndrome

"Considerable evidence suggests a connection between heavy alcohol consumption and increased risk for cancer, with an estimated 2 to 4 percent of all cancer cases thought to be caused either directly or indirectly by alcohol[1]" indicates the NIAAA.[2]" 3.6% of all cancer cases worldwide are related to alcohol drinking, resulting in 3.5% of all cancer deaths."[3] Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... The relationship between alcohol consumption and health has been the subject of formal scientific research since at least 1926, when Dr. Raymond Pearl published his book, Alcohol and Longevity, in which he reported his finding that drinking alcohol in moderation was associated with greater longevity than either abstaining or drinking... The subject of alcohol and heart attacks is important because the major cause of death in many countries is heart disease. ... Alcohol and weight is a subject relevant to millions of people who like to drink alcoholic beverages and who also either want to maintain or to lose body weight. ... Alcoholism is the consumption of, or preoccupation with, alcoholic beverages to the extent that this behavior interferes with the drinkers normal personal, family, social, or work life, and may lead to physical or mental harm. ... The effects of alcohol on the human body can take several forms. ... Fetal alcohol syndrome or FAS is a disorder of permanent birth defects that occurs in the offspring of women who drink alcohol during pregnancy. ...

Contents

Alcohol as a carcinogen and cocarcinogen

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (Centre International de Recherche sur le Cancer) of the World Health Organization has classified alcohol as a Group 1 carcinogen. Its evaluation states, "There is sufficient evidence for the carcinogenicity of alcoholic beverages in humans.… Alcoholic beverages are carcinogenic to humans (Group 1)."[4] The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC, or CIRC in its French acronym) is an intergovernmental agency forming part of the World Health Organisation of the United Nations. ... “WHO” redirects here. ... Substances, mixtures and exposure circumstances in this list have been classified by the IARC as Group 1: The agent (mixture) is carcinogenic to humans. ...


The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reports that "Although there is no evidence that alcohol itself is a carcinogen, alcohol may act as a cocarcinogen by enhancing the carcinogenic effects of other chemicals. For example, studies indicate that alcohol enhances tobacco's ability to stimulate tumor formation in rats.[5] In humans, the risk for mouth, tracheal, and esophageal cancer is 35 times greater for people who both smoke and drink than for people who neither smoke nor drink,[6] implying a cocarcinogenic interaction between alcohol and tobacco-related carcinogens."[2] The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), as part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, supports and conducts biomedical and behavioral research on the causes, consequences, treatment, and prevention of alcoholism and alcohol-related problems. ...


The NIAAA emphasizes that "Although epidemiologic studies have found a clear association between alcohol consumption and development of certain types of cancer, study findings are often inconsistent and may vary by country and by type of cancer."[2]


"Studies have suggested that high concentrations of acetaldehyde, which is produced as the body breaks down ethanol, could damage DNA in healthy cells. … Researchers at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in Bethesda, Maryland, have added weight to this idea by showing that the damage occurs at concentrations of acetaldehyde similar to those in saliva and the gastrointestinal tract while people drink alcohol. Acetaldehyde appears to react with polyamines - naturally occurring compounds essential for cell growth - to create a particularly dangerous type of mutagenic DNA base called a Cr-Pdg adduct…"[7] R-phrases , , S-phrases , , , Flash point −39 °C Autoignition temperature 185 °C RTECS number AB1925000 Supplementary data page Structure and properties n, εr, etc. ... The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), as part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, supports and conducts biomedical and behavioral research on the causes, consequences, treatment, and prevention of alcoholism and alcohol-related problems. ... Bethesda, the name of a pool in the New Testament, has been adopted as a name by many other places and things. ...


Alcohol and specific cancers

Believed to increase risk

Head and neck cancers

Head and neck cancers, as used in this article, mean cancers of the mouth, esophagus, pharynx and larynx. The U.S. National Cancer Institute states that drinking alcohol, especially above the recommended maximum intake (see below), increases the risk of these cancers in both men and women. "Also, using alcohol with tobacco is riskier than using either one alone, because it further increases the chances of getting cancers of the mouth, throat, and esophagus." The International Head and Neck Cancer Epidemiology (INHANCE) Consortium co-ordinates a meta-study on the issue. Oral cancer is any cancerous tissue growth located in the mouth. ... Esophageal cancer is malignancy of the esophagus. ... The pharynx (plural: pharynges) is the part of the neck and throat situated immediately posterior to the mouth and nasal cavity, and cranial, or superior, to the esophagus, larynx, and trachea. ... Cancer of the larynx also may be called laryngeal cancer. ... The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is part of the United States Federal governments National Institutes of Health. ...


A study looking at laryngeal cancer and beverage type concluded, "This study thus indicates that in the Italian population characterized by frequent wine consumption, wine is the beverage most strongly related to the risk of laryngeal cancer."[8]


The American Cancer Society estimates that, as a proportion of all cancer deaths in the US in 2006, cancer of the mouth (oral cavity) will represent 1.3 percent, of the esophagus will be 2.4 percent, of the pharynx will constitute slightly under one-half of one percent, and of the larynx will be about six-tenths of one percent.[9] The American Cancer Society (ACS) is a medical organization with a corporate attitude in the United States. ...


Although they are also located in the head or neck, alcohol consumption is not a risk factor for brain cancer, eye cancer, pituitary gland cancer, thymus cancer, salivary gland cancer, thyroid cancer, nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer, or adenoid cancer (see below).


Breast cancer

Alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer in women. A review concludes that "studies confirm previous observations that there appears to be an association between alcohol intake and increased risk of breast cancer in women. On balance, there was a weak association between the amount of alcohol consumed and the relative risk."[10] Breast cancer is cancer of breast tissue. ... Breast cancer is cancer of breast tissue. ...


The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) concludes that "Chronic alcohol consumption has been associated with a small (averaging 10 percent) increase in a woman's risk of breast cancer[11][12] .[13] According to these studies, the risk appears to increase as the quantity and duration of alcohol consumption increases. Other studies, however, have found no evidence of such a link[14][15][16] .[2] " The nature and inconsistency of the evidence has called into question the existence of any causal link between moderate alcohol consumption and breast cancer [1]


The Committee on Carcinogenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products concludes, "The new research estimates that a woman drinking an average of two units of alcohol per day has a lifetime risk of developing breast cancer 8% higher than a woman who drinks an average of one unit of alcohol per day. The risk of breast cancer further increases with each additional drink consumed per day. … The research also concludes that approximately 6% (between 3.2% and 8.8%) of breast cancers reported in the UK each year could be prevented if drinking was reduced to a very low level (i.e. less than 1 unit/week)."[17]


It has been reported that "Two drinks daily increase the risk of getting breast cancer by about 25 percent." (NCI) but the evidence is inconsistent. The Framingham study has tracked individuals since the 1940s. Data from that research found that drinking alcohol moderately did not increase breast cancer risk.[18] Similarly, research by the Danish National Institute for Public Health found that moderate drinking had virtually no effect on breast cancer risk.[19] Breast cancer constitutes about 7.3% of all cancers.[9] Among women, breast cancer comprises 60% of alcohol-attributable cancers.[20] One study suggests that women who frequently drink red wine may have an increased risk of developing breast cancer.[21]


Alcohol consumption has been shown to increase the rate of breast cancer in women, according to Robin Room. [22]


A study of 17,647 nurses found that high drinking levels more than doubled risk of breast cancer. "The relative risk of breast cancer was 2.30 … for alcohol intake of 22–27 drinks per week, compared to 1–3 drinks per week. Among alcohol consumers, weekly alcohol intake increased the risk of breast cancer with 2% for each additional drink consumed. Weekend consumption increased the risk with 4% for each additional drink consumed Friday through Sunday." Binge drinking of 4–5 drinks on the last weekday increased risk by 55%.[23]


"The findings from this prospective study suggest that moderate alcohol consumption increases breast cancer risk."[24]


A study showed that one or two alcoholic drinks a day increases the risk of breast cancer by 10 per cent compared with light drinkers who drank less than one drink a day. Women who have three or more drinks a day increase their risk of breast cancer by 30 per cent. The type of drink was not a factor.[25] "A typical 50-year-old woman has a five-year breast cancer risk of about 3 percent. If her risk jumps by 30 percent, her individual risk is still only about 4 percent" reports the New York Times. [26] It also has noted that "deaths from heart disease greatly exceed those caused by breast cancer. Each year more than 500,000 American women die of heart disease, compared with 43,500 who die from breast cancer" and that according to the American Cancer Society, "having one drink a day raises a woman's risk of dying of breast cancer by 11 percent but diminishes overall mortality by 20 percent because of alcohol's protective effects on the heart." [27] The American Cancer Society (ACS) is a medical organization with a corporate attitude in the United States. ...


"Folate intake counteracts breast cancer risk associated with alcohol consumption"[28] and "women who drink alcohol and have a high folate intake are not at increased risk of breast cancer".[29] Those who have a high (200 micrograms or more per day) level of folate (folic acid or Vitamin B9) in their diet are not at increased risk of breast cancer compared to those who abstain from alcohol.[30] A study of over 17,000 Australian women aged 40-69 over a period of about ten years found that those who consumed 40 grams of alcohol (about three to four drinks) per day have a higher risk of breast cancer than do women who abstain from alcohol. However, in women who take 200 micrograms of folate or folic acid (Vitamin B9) every day, the risk of breast cancer drops below that of alcohol abstainers. [31] See Folic acid for more. Folic acid (the anion form is called folate) is a B-complex vitamin (once called vitamin M) that is important in preventing neural tube defects (NTDs) in the developing human fetus. ... Folic acid and folate (the anion form) are forms of the water-soluble Vitamin B9. ...


A study on mice suggests that, when breast cancer is established, drinking as little as two alcoholic drinks a day increases the growth rate of tumors. Alcohol causes cancer cells' blood vessels to grow which in turn fuels the growth of the tumor, a process known as angiogenesis.[32] Angiogenesis is the physiological process involving the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing vessels. ...


Heavy consumption appears to increase risk

Liver cancer

The NIAAA reports that "Prolonged, heavy drinking has been associated in many cases with primary liver cancer." However, it is liver cirrhosis, whether caused by alcohol or another factor, that is thought to induce the cancer."[33][34] Hepatic tumors are tumors or growths on or in the liver (medical terms pertaining to the liver often start in hepato- or hepatic from the Greek word for liver, hepar). ...


"The chances of getting liver cancer increase markedly with five or more drinks per day" (NCI). However, the risk is cut dramatically by consuming coffee daily.[35] Research has now demonstrated that drinking four cups of coffee per day reduces alcoholic cirrhosis risk by 80% among both men and women of different racial categories (Klatsky et al., Coffee, cirrhosis, and tranaminase enzymes. Archives of Internal Medicine, 2006, 166, 1190-1195). Hepatic tumors are tumors or growths on or in the liver (medical terms pertaining to the liver often start in hepato- or hepatic from the Greek word for liver, hepar). ...


In areas of Africa and Asia, liver cancer afflicts 50 or more people per 100,000 per year, usually associated with cirrhosis caused by hepatitis viruses. In the United States, liver cancer is relatively uncommon, afflicting approximately 2 people per 100,000, but excessive alcohol consumption is linked to as many as 36% of these cases by some investigators[1][36][2] "Mortality rates of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are high in Italy compared with other Western countries. … Overall, 61% of HCC were attributable to HCV [hepatitis C virus], 13% to HBV [hepatitis B virus], and 18% to heavy alcohol drinking."[37] A study in the province of Brescia, northern Italy concluded, "On the basis of population attributable risks (AR), heavy alcohol intake seems to be the single most relevant cause of HCC in this area (AR: 45%), followed by HCV (AR: 36%), and HBV (AR: 22%) infection."[38] The Capitoline Temple. ...


Liver and intrahepatic bile duct cancers combined account for about 2.8% of all cancers.[9]


Ovarian cancer

"Associations were also found between alcohol consumption and cancers of the ovary …, but only for 50 g and 100 g a day."[39] "Thus, the results of this study suggest that relatively elevated alcohol intake (of the order of 40 g per day or more) may cause a modest increase of epithelial ovarian cancer risk."[40] Ovarian cancer is a malignant tumor (a kind of neoplasm) located on an ovary. ...


Breast cancer in men

"Heavy alcohol intake increases the risk of breast cancer in men."[41] "If you drink heavy amounts of alcohol, you have a greater risk of breast cancer."[42]


Male breast cancer is very rare and, in Western populations, the incidence is less than one case per 100,000 men. Male Breast Cancer


Evidence is inconsistent and inconclusive

Colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer refers to cancers of the colon or rectum. Colorectal cancer constitutes about 9.7% of all cancers.[9]The National Cancer Institute does not list alcohol as a risk factor.[43] Colorectal cancer, also called colon cancer or bowel cancer, includes cancerous growths in the colon, rectum and appendix. ...


The NIAAA reports that, "Epidemiologic studies have found a small but consistent dose-dependent association between alcohol consumption and colorectal cancer[44][45]even when controlling for fiber and other dietary factors.[46][47] Despite the large number of studies, however, causality cannot be determined from the available data."[2]


"Heavy alcohol use may also increase the risk of colorectal cancer" (NCI). One study found that "People who drink more 30 grams of alcohol per day (and especially those who drink more than 45 grams per day) appear to have a slightly higher risk for colorectal cancer."[48][49] Another found that "The consumption of one or more alcoholic beverages a day at baseline was associated with approximately a 70% greater risk of colon cancer."[50][51][52] Colorectal cancer, also called colon cancer or bowel cancer, includes cancerous growths in the colon, rectum and appendix. ...


One study found that "While there was a more than twofold increased risk of significant colorectal neoplasia in people who drink spirits and beer, people who drank wine had a lower risk. In our sample, people who drank more than eight servings of beer or spirits per week had at least a one in five chance of having significant colorectal neoplasia detected by screening colonoscopy.".[53]


Other research suggests that "to minimize your risk of developing colorectal cancer, it's best to drink in moderation"[2]


The EPIC study suggests that "people who drink 15 grams of alcohol a day - equivalent to about two units - have about a 10 per cent increased risk of bowel cancer. Those who drank more than 30 grams of alcohol - equivalent to three to four units which is less than a couple of pints of strong lager - increased their bowel cancer risk by around 25 per cent." [54][55]


In “Moderate Alcohol Consumption Protects Against Colorectal Adenoma, ” Dr. Gregory Austin of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his colleagues found from an analysis of a case control study of patients who underwent a full colonoscopy that abstainers or non-drinkers had a 40% higher risk of adenoma than did those who consumed beer, wine, or liquor (distilled spirits) in moderation. The researchers conclude that “Individuals who consume moderate amounts of alcohol are at lower risk of colorectal adenomas than nondrinkers and heavy drinkers.” (Austin, Gregory, et al. Moderate Alcohol Consumption Protects Against Colorectal Adenoma. Paper presented at Digestive Diseases Week (DDW), May 24, 2006 , abstract M2263) [2]


Drinking may be a cause of earlier onset of colorectal cancer.[56]


Leukemia

Leukemia (British spelling: leukaemia). There is no association between drinking alcohol and adult leukemia. Leukemia or leukaemia (see spelling differences) is a cancer of the blood or bone marrow and is characterized by an abnormal proliferation (production by multiplication) of blood cells, usually white blood cells (leukocytes). ... Leukemia or leukaemia (see spelling differences) is a cancer of the blood or bone marrow and is characterized by an abnormal proliferation (production by multiplication) of blood cells, usually white blood cells (leukocytes). ...


“Results from the few studies that have examined the association between alcohol use during pregnancy and childhood leukemia are conflicting,” reported a study that found an association."[57] A review published by the National Cancer Institute placed maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy in the category of “suggestive” and asserts that it is “unlikely to be an important risk factor.” [58]


Leukemia constitutes about 7.8% of all cancers.[9]


Malignant melanoma

"In interview data from the U.S.A.'s Third National Cancer Survey, alcohol ingestion was associated with a higher occurrence of cancers of the breast, thyroid, and malignant melanoma. Data from other studies support the first two associations."[59] "High alcohol consumption was associated with an increased risk for melanoma, which remained after adjustment for confounders…".[60] Other studies suggest there is no association for melanoma. "The risk of malignant melanoma was not influenced by alcohol consumption or smoking habits."[61] "There was no evidence that … alcohol or polyunsaturated fats were associated with an increased risk."[62] Melanoma is a malignant tumor of melanocytes. ... Melanoma is a malignant tumor of melanocytes. ...


There is no association between alcohol and Nonmelanoma skin cancer. Skin cancer is a malignant growth on the skin which can have many causes. ...


Prostate cancer

"Associations were also found between alcohol consumption and cancers of the ovary and prostate, but only for 50 g and 100 g a day."[39] However, one study concludes, "In contrast to the majority of previous studies, we found a positive association between moderate alcohol consumption and the risk of prostate cancer. Liquor, but not wine or beer, consumption was positively associated with prostate cancer."[63] Prostate cancer is a disease in which cancer develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. ...


The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center "found that men who consumed four or more glasses of red wine per week reduced their risk of prostate cancer by 50 percent". They "found no significant effects — positive nor negative — associated with the consumption of beer or hard liquor and no consistent risk reduction with white wine, which suggests that there must be a beneficial compound in red wine that other types of alcohol lack. That compound … may be an antioxidant called resveratrol, which is abundant in the skins of red grapes.".[64][65] The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is an institution in the Cascade neighborhood of Seattle, Washington engaged in scientific research towards the prevention and treatment of cancer. ... Resveratrol is a phytoalexin produced naturally by several plants when under attack by bacteria or fungi. ...


Prostate cancer accounts for about 4.8% of all cancers.[9]


Thyroid cancer

"In interview data from the U.S.A.'s Third National Cancer Survey, alcohol ingestion was associated with a higher occurrence of cancers of the breast, thyroid, and malignant melanoma. Data from other studies support the first two associations."[59] Another study suggests that drinking in moderation significantly reduces the risk of some malignant tumors such as thyroid cancer in women.[66] However, another study concludes, "A reduced risk associated with alcohol was eliminated after adjustment for smoking…".[67] Thyroid cancer is malignant growth of the thyroid gland. ...


May reduce risk

Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL)

"Our study indicates a protective effect of alcohol consumption for nonsmoking HL cases."[68] Hodgkins lymphoma, also known as Hodgkins disease, is a type of lymphoma first described by Thomas Hodgkin in 1832. ...


The National Cancer Institute does not list alcohol consumption as a risk factor for Hodgkin's lymphoma.[3]


Kidney cancer (Renal cell carcinoma) (RCC)

Moderate alcohol consumption appears to reduce the risk of kidney cancer. An analysis of data from 760,044 men and women who were tracked for seven to 20 years found that moderate drinkers are about 30% less likely to develop renal cell cancer than are abstainers. (Lee, J. E. et al. Alcohol intake and renal cell cancer in a pooled analysis of 12 prospective studies. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2007, 99, 811-822.) The kidneys are organs that filter wastes (such as urea) from the blood and excrete them, along with water, as urine. ... Renal cell carcinoma is the most common form of kidney cancer arising from the renal tubule. ...


A large prospective study of 59,237 Swedish women age 40-76 found that those who consumed at least one drink per week had a 38% lower risk of kidney cancer than did abstainers or those who drank less. For women over 55, the risk dropped by two-thirds (66%). [69]


A small study concluded that its "findings suggest an inverse association of alcohol consumption and RCC development among women but not among men."[70] Another small study concluded that "No significant relationship emerged, nor any differences between the sexes."[71]


Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

A review of findings from nine international studies suggests that drinking alcohol reduces the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) by 27%. The protective effect of alcohol did not vary by beverage type. "People who drink alcoholic beverages might have a lower risk of NHL than those who do not, and this risk might vary by NHL subtype. Further study designs are needed to determine whether confounding lifestyle factors or immunomodulatory effects of alcohol explain this association.".[72] The research also found that, in addition, alcohol's protective effect varies by form or subtype of non-Hodgkin‘s lymphoma. Drinkers were about half as likely as non-drinkers to develop Burkitt's lymphoma. Non-Hodgkins lymphoma is a type of cancer. ... An immunomodulator is a drug used for its effect on the immune system: drugs may be immunosuppressants or immunostimulators. ...


The cancer is the sixth most common in the USA.


Not suspected to increase risk

Bladder cancer

"Our data suggest that total and beverage-specific alcohol consumption are not associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer."[73] A Dutch study concludes, "The results of this study do not suggest an important association between alcohol consumption and bladder cancer risk."[74] Bladder cancer represents about 2.3% of all cancers. Bladder cancer refers to any of several types of malignant growths of the urinary bladder. ...


Endometrial cancer

"Thirteen studies to date have reported on the relationship between endometrial cancer and alcohol consumption. Only two of these studies have reported that endometrial cancer incidence is associated with consumption of alcohol; all the others have reported either no definite association, or an inverse association." (Six studies showed an inverse association; that is, drinking was associated with a lower risk of endometrial cancer) "…if such an inverse association exists, it appears to be more pronounced in younger, or premenopausal, women."[75] Endometrial cancer involves cancerous growth of the endometrium (lining of the uterus). ...


Endometrial plus all other uterine cancers account for about 1.9% of all cancers.[9]


Gallbladder cancer

The National Cancer Institute does not list alcohol as a risk factor for gallbladder cancer (National Cancer Institute. General Information about Gallbladder Cancer). Bold textA more uncommon cancer predominate in females, if found early on before symptoms, can be cured by removing Gallbladder, most often it is found after symptoms occur (abdominal pain, Jaundice) and has spread to other organs such as liver and the outlook at this point is poor. ...


A letter to the editor of the International Journal of Cancer [4] suggested that “incidence differences for gallbladder cancer between occupational groups suggest an etiological role for alcohol.” The investigators did not use any direct measure of alcohol consumption and their surrogate indicator was confounded by smoking. They reported that “Occupations with high consumption of alcohol and/or high prevalence of smoking associated with a risk of liver and gallbladder cancers” which led to their conclusion that “alcohol drinking is a risk factor of gallbladder cancer because of the covariation of primary liver and gallbladder cancers in occupational groups.” (Ji, J; Hemminki K (2005 Sep). "Variation in the risk for liver and gallbladder cancers in socioeconomic and occupational groups in Sweden with etiological implications". Int Arch Occup Environ Health 78 (8): 641-9) However covariation alone cannot establish that any variable is a risk factor.


Researchers using direct measures of drinking have not found alcohol to be a risk factor for the disease. A French study of female gallbladder patients found that only 2% consumed alcohol [5] and a Polish case-controlled study found no relationship between alcohol consumption and the disease .[6]


A large multicultural case-control study of gallbladder cancer was conducted in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and Poland with the Surveillance of environmental Aspects Related to Cancer in Humans (SEARCH) Program of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). It found no evidence that alcohol is a risk factor for gallbladder cancer. [7]


Lung cancer

"Globally, lung cancer is the most frequent malignancy in males, while it is the fifth most common cancer in females." [8] It is a major cause of death, constituting about 28.8% of all cancers.[9] The NIAA reports that “A few studies have linked chronic heavy drinking with cancers of the stomach, pancreas, and lungs (International Agency for Research on cancer). However, the association is consistently weak and the majority of studies have found no association (International Agency for Research on Cancer).”[2] Lung cancer is the malignant transformation and expansion of lung tissue, and is the most lethal of all cancers worldwide, responsible for 1. ...


Chronic heavy alcohol consumption possibly increases the risk of lung cancer, but the evidence is inadequate to date.[76] Commenting on a study by Freudenheim et al[77] R. Curtis Ellison MD writes, "This study, like others, suggests a weak, positive association between consuming larger amounts of alcohol (>2 drinks a day) and lung cancer risk."[78]


Pancreatic cancer

"A few studies have linked chronic heavy drinking with cancers of the stomach, pancreas, and lungs. However, the association is consistently weak and the majority of studies have found no association", write the NIAAA,[2] citing the International Agency for Research on Cancer..[79] Alcohol has been reported as a possible risks in some (but not in most) studies.[80] Drinking alcohol excessively is a cause of acute pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis. "About 7 out of 10 cases of chronic pancreatitis are due to long term heavy drinking. Chronic pancreatitis is a known risk factor for cancer of the pancreas. But chronic pancreatitis that is due to alcohol doesn't increase risk as much as other types of chronic pancreatitis. So if there is a link with alcohol and pancreatic cancer risk, it is only very slight."[81] Pancreatic cancer is a malignant tumour within the pancreatic gland. ... The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC, or CIRC in its French acronym) is an intergovernmental agency forming part of the World Health Organisation of the United Nations. ... Chronic pancreatitis can present as episodes of acute inflammation in a previously injured pancreas, or as chronic damage with persistent pain or malabsorption. ...


Pancreatic cancer constitutes about 5.7% of all cancers.


Small intestine cancer

The National Cancer Institute does not list alcohol as a possible risk factor for cancer of the small intestine. [9] In biology the small intestine is the part of the gastrointestinal tract (gut) between the stomach and the large intestine and includes the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. ...


Stomach cancer

As indicated above, the NIAA reports that “A few studies have linked chronic heavy drinking with cancers of the stomach, pancreas, and lungs (International Agency for Research on cancer). However, the association is consistently weak and the majority of studies have found no association (International Agency for Research on Cancer).”[2] Stomach cancer (also called gastric cancer) can develop in any part of the stomach and may spread throughout the stomach and to other organs; particularly the esophagus and the small intestine. ...


Alcohol consumption, even when chronic and heavy, probably does not affect the risk of stomach cancer.[76]


Vulvar cancer

The American Caner Society does not list alcohol as a risk factor for this disease [10] "No consistent association emerged between milk, meat, liver, alcohol and coffee consumption and risk of vulvar cancer."[82] The external genital organs of the female are collectively known as the vulva (plural vulvae or vulvas)[1]. In common speech, the term vagina is often used improperly to refer to the vulva or female genitals generally, even though, strictly speaking, the vagina is a specific internal structure, whereas the...


Thirty other cancers

Alcohol is not listed as a risk factor for any of the following cancers

Adenoids (or pharyngeal tonsils, or nasopharyngeal tonsils) are a mass of lymphoid tissue situated at the very back of the nose, in the roof of the nasopharynx, where the nose blends into the mouth. ... In mammals, the adrenal glands (also known as suprarenal glands) are the triangle-shaped endocrine glands that sit on top of the kidneys; their name indicates that position (ad-, near or at + -renes, kidneys). They are chiefly responsible for regulating the stress response through the synthesis of corticosteroids and catecholamines... Anal cancer is a distinct entity from the more common colorectal cancer. ... Appendix cancer or appendiceal cancer is a malignancy of the vermiform appendix, accounting for about 1 in 200 of all gastrointestinal malignancies. ... A sarcoma is a cancer of the bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue. ... A brain tumor is any mass created by an abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells either found in the brain (neurons, glial cells, epithelial cells, myelin producing cells, etc. ... A diagram showing the CNS: 1. ... Cervical cancer is a malignant cancer of the cervix. ... X-Ray of the bile duct during a laprascopic cholecystectomy A bile duct is any of a number of long tube-like structures that carry bile. ... Cancers can affect the eye. ... The Fallopian tubes, also known as oviducts, uterine tubes, and salpinges (singular salpinx) are two very fine tubes leading from the ovaries of female mammals into the uterus. ... The nasal cavity (or nasal fossa) is a large air-filled space above and behind the nose in the middle of the face. ... The penis (plural penises or penes) or phallus is an external male sexual organ. ... The pituitary gland, or hypophysis, is an endocrine gland about the size of a pea that sits in a small, bony cavity (sella turcica) covered by a dural fold (sellar diaphragm) at the base of the brain. ... This rare neoplasm was first reported in 1988. ... The salivary glands produce saliva, which keeps the mouth and other parts of the digestive system moist. ... Skin cancer is a malignant growth on the skin which can have many causes. ... Testicular cancer is cancer that develops in the testicles, a part of the male reproductive system. ... Thymus, see Thyme. ... The vagina, (from Latin, literally sheath or scabbard ) is the tubular tract leading from the uterus to the exterior of the body in female placental mammals and marsupials, or to the cloaca in female birds, monotremes, and some reptiles. ...

Effect of alcohol on the progress of cancer when established

A study of the influence of alcohol intake on tumor growth of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients with type C cirrhosis, found that alcohol influenced tumor volume doubling time (TVDT). "In conclusion we found that alcohol intake was closely related to the tumor growth of HCC in patients with type C cirrhosis."[84]


A study of chick embryos suggests that alcohol stimulates their tumor growth by fueling the production of a growth factor that stimulates blood vessel development in tumors.[85][86] A 2006 study in mice showed moderate drinking resulted in larger and more robust tumors.[87]


A study where high amounts of alcohol were given to mice suggests that it accelerates their cancer growth by speeding up the loss of body fat and depressing immune activity - particularly that of 'killer t-cells'.[88][89]


Recommended maximum alcohol intake

As outlined above, there is no recommended alcohol intake with respect to cancer risk alone as it varies with each individual cancer. See Recommended maximum intake of alcoholic beverages for a list of governments' guidances on alcohol intake which, for a man, range from 140–280g per week. This article summarizes the recommended maximum intake (or safe limits) of alcohol as recommended by the health agencies of various governments. ... This article summarizes the recommended maximum intake (or safe limits) of alcohol as recommended by the health agencies of various governments. ...


One meta-analysis suggests that risks of cancers may start below the recommended levels. "Risk increased significantly for drinkers, compared with non-drinkers, beginning at an intake of 25 g (< 2 standard drinks) per day for the following: cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx (relative risk, RR, 1.9), esophagus (RR 1.4), larynx (RR 1.4), breast (RR 1.3), liver (RR 1.2), colon (RR 1.1), and rectum (RR 1.1)"[90][91]


Alternatively, the actual quantities of alcohol associated with negative effects may be substantially higher than generally reported because participants in medical research studies tend to underestimate and underreport their usual amounts of alcohol consumption.[92]


Relative health risks

An increase in risk of a particular cancer through drinking needs to balanced against the benefits of moderate drinking on reducing heart attacks. See Alcohol and heart attacks for more. There are, of course, many ways of reducing your risk of a heart attack either without, or in addition to, drinking alcohol, such as controlling your weight and exercising. Balancing such risks is a personal decision that should be discussed with one’s own physician. The subject of alcohol and heart attacks is important because the major cause of death in the United States and many other countries is heart disease. ...


See also

The relationship between alcohol consumption and health has been the subject of formal scientific research since at least 1926, when Dr. Raymond Pearl published his book, Alcohol and Longevity, in which he reported his finding that drinking alcohol in moderation was associated with greater longevity than either abstaining or drinking... The subject of alcohol and heart attacks is important because the major cause of death in many countries is heart disease. ... Alcohol and weight is a subject relevant to millions of people who like to drink alcoholic beverages and who also either want to maintain or to lose body weight. ...

References

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  • International Agency for Research on Cancer. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans. Vol. 44. United Kingdom: World Health Organization, 1988.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), as part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, supports and conducts biomedical and behavioral research on the causes, consequences, treatment, and prevention of alcoholism and alcohol-related problems. ... New Scientist is a weekly international science magazine covering recent developments in science and technology for a general English-speaking audience. ... The American Cancer Society (ACS) is a medical organization with a corporate attitude in the United States. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 82nd day of the year (83rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 177th day of the year (178th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is an institution in the Cascade neighborhood of Seattle, Washington engaged in scientific research towards the prevention and treatment of cancer. ... The American Cancer Society (ACS) is a medical organization with a corporate attitude in the United States. ... Cancer Research UK is a cancer research and awareness-promotion group in the United Kingdom, formed in 2002 by the merger of the Cancer Research Campaign and the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. ... is the 347th day of the year (348th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 15th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ...

Source

  • Drinking, Alcohol and Cancer

External links

Government and international bodies

  • International: International Agency for Research on Cancer home page
  • Australia: Cancer Control Bulletin Alcohol and cancer risk (PDF format)
  • Canada: Public Health Agency of Canada / Agence de santé publique du Canada Review of Lifestyle and Environmental Risk Factors for Breast Cancer (Contents and Introduction) PDF (full report in PDF format)
  • UK: Committee on Carcinogenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products Consumption of alcoholic beverages and risk of breast cancer
  • UK: Committee on Carcinogenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products Evidence for association between consumption of alcoholic beverages and breast cancer
  • US: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Alcohol Alert No. 21-1993 Alcohol and cancer
  • US: National Cancer Institute
  • US: National Toxicology Program Report on Carcinogens, Eleventh Edition Alcoholic Beverage Consumption (PDF)
  • US: Ohio Department of Health Alcohol and cancer (PDF format)

Cancer charities The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC, or CIRC in its French acronym) is an intergovernmental agency forming part of the World Health Organisation of the United Nations. ... The Public Health Agency of Canada is an agency of the Department of Health within the government of Canada which is responsible for public health and, more specifically, emergency preparedness and response and infectious and chronic disease control and prevention. ... The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), as part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, supports and conducts biomedical and behavioral research on the causes, consequences, treatment, and prevention of alcoholism and alcohol-related problems. ...

Other sites The American Cancer Society (ACS) is a medical organization with a corporate attitude in the United States. ... Cancer Research UK is a cancer research and awareness-promotion group in the United Kingdom, formed in 2002 by the merger of the Cancer Research Campaign and the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. ... Cancer Research UK is a cancer research and awareness-promotion group in the United Kingdom, formed in 2002 by the merger of the Cancer Research Campaign and the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. ...

  • Toronto Cancer Prevention Coalition Alcohol Work Group Report on the Links between Alcohol and Cancer (PDF format)
  • Alcohol in Moderation Alcohol & Cancer
  • Alcohol and Cancer

Science sites


  Results from FactBites:
 
Alcohol & Cancer (1275 words)
The American Cancer Society estimate that 3% of all cancer deaths are alcohol-induced.
In Britain, alcohol consumption is rapidly getting out of hand and the incidence of liver cirrhosis is up by 50 per cent in the last ten years, while hospital admissions due to alcohol-related diseases are up by 90 per cent in men and 150 per cent in women.
Whereas liver cirrhosis in alcoholics appears to be a precursor of liver cancer, the increased susceptibility to cancer of the upper digestive and respiratory passages is probably due to direct cellular changes resulting from repeated contact of the tissues with alcohol.
Alcohol (923 words)
The strongest associations are with oral, pharyngeal, esophageal, and laryngeal cancer.
Indeed, it is estimated that 75 percent of all oral and pharyngeal cancers in the United States are due to drinking and smoking.
Although ethanol itself and alcoholic beverages have generally not induced cancer in experimental animals, the epidemiologic evidence is sufficient to establish carcinogenicity (IARC, 1988).
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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