Colon cancer risk increased by alcohol consumption

Although previous studies have linked alcohol use with colon cancer, findings regarding personal factors, types of beverage, and anatomic sites in the colon have been inconsistent, Dr. Eunyoung Cho at Harvard Medical School, Boston, and colleagues note.

They therefore combined data from eight large studies from North America and Europe, which included approximately 500,000 subjects. Among this cohort, there were 4687 cases of colon cancer.

The cancer risk was increased for those who regularly drank at least 30 grams of alcohol per day, the equivalent of two to three drinks of 80-proof liquor. For example, drinking 30 to 45 grams raised the risk by 21 percent, while drinking more than 45 grams increased the risk by 51 percent.

The results were similar for women and men, and did not differ between various locations in the colon. The risk also did not differ for beer, wine or liquor, leading Cho's group to believe that it was the alcohol itself and not other components that was responsible for the increased risk, report

According to heavy drinkers of alcohol may increase their risk of developing colon cancer, according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The researchers found 4687 participants of the 489,979, developed colorectal cancer. When compared to people in the 8 combined previous studies who reported drinking no alcohol at all, the risk to people consuming 30 grams of alcohol per day (2 average size drinks) showed a small increase in risk for developing colorectal cancer (21 percent higher risk). People who consumed 3 average size drinks showed the highest risk of developing the disease (51 percent higher risk).

Researchers found alcohol presented the increased risk, especially high consumption, but not the type of alcohol consumed. The researchers also found no difference in risk between men and women who consumed alcohol.

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