Heavy drinkers face significantly increased cancer risk

Aug 03, 2009
Heavy drinkers face significantly  increased cancer risk

(PhysOrg.com) -- Heavy drinkers of beer and spirits face a much higher risk of developing cancer than the population at large, says a group of Montreal epidemiologists and cancer researchers. Their findings show that people in the highest consumption category increased their risk of developing oesophageal cancer sevenfold, colon cancer by 80% and even lung cancer by 50%.

In all, the researchers found statistically significant relationships between heavy consumption of beer and spririts and six different cancers. (i.e. less than daily) and wine consumption did not show the same effects, however.

The research was conducted by Dr. Andrea Benedetti of McGill University, Dr. Marie-Elise Parent of INRS-Institut Armand Frappier and Dr. Jack Siemiatycki of the Université de Montréal.

"We looked at the data in two ways," said Benedetti, an assistant professor at McGill's Departments of Medicine and of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health. "We compared people who drank heavily to our reference group, who abstained or drank only very occasionally. We also looked for trends across our categories: non-drinkers, weekly drinkers and daily drinkers.

The results were astounding. "We saw increased risk for esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, colon cancer, liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, and prostate cancer," Benedetti added. "The strongest risk was for esophageal and liver cancer."

"This study crystalizes many strands of evidence from different studies on different types of cancer and alcohol consumption," said Dr. Jack Siematycki, professor, Canada Research Chair and Guzzo Chair in Environment and Cancer, at the Université de Montréal.

The researchers used data originally collected for a large occupational cancer study conducted in Montreal in the 1980s. The information was a treasure-trove, said Benedetti.

"Lifetime interviews were conducted with people about their job histories, and detailed information about all the things they could have been exposed to was collected," she explained. "As it turns out, the data also included information about non-occupational factors such as drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, diet and socio-economic status, among others."

Benedetti, the study's lead author, conducted this research while still a postdoctorial fellow under the supervision of her co-authors, Dr. Siemiatycki and Dr. Parent. Their results were published in the current issue of the journal Cancer Detection and Prevention.

"For the most part we showed that light drinkers were less affected or not affected at all," said Benedetti. "It is people who drink every day or multiple times a day who are at risk. This adds to the growing body of evidence that heavy drinking is extremely unhealthy in so many ways. very much included."

Source: McGill University (news : web)

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paulthebassguy
not rated yet Aug 03, 2009
Shit, I better cut back then.
Ausjin
3 / 5 (1) Aug 03, 2009
I never understood why people drink in the first place. I've tried it. It does not make you happy, it does not make you feel good in any way. It just slows down the mind and lowers inhibitions. Those alone should be reason enough to avoid alcohol. The myriad of health problems, reason enough for someone to give it up completely.

Then again, what would break.com have to offer if not for drunken idiots?
acarrilho
4 / 5 (4) Aug 03, 2009
I never understood why people drink in the first place. I've tried it.


Sorry you didn't like ALL those alcoholic beverages you tried. Must've been many...

It does not make you happy, it does not make you feel good in any way.


Obviously, that is not the case for a lot of people, myself included. This is a great deal of presumption on your part. Do you not acknowledge that?

It just slows down the mind and lowers inhibitions.


One might argue it quiets the mind a bit. Sometimes that's a good thing. As for the inhibitions, some people can also use a bit loosening up. Unfortunately, not everyone knows "how" to drink. That is not alcohol's fault.

Those alone should be reason enough to avoid alcohol. The myriad of health problems, reason enough for someone to give it up completely.


There are more than enough studies corroborating health benefits of moderate consumption of wine and beer. Will you deny that?

"Heavy drinkers" should've given you a clue...
Ausjin
not rated yet Aug 03, 2009
Fine, I admit I kind of bunched all alcohol consumers into a single group there, and it is the heavy drinkers that are the real issue. In moderation, I guess it would have little or no long term effect.

And my own experiences are totally subjective. The only health benefits I have heard of are in regard to red wine, though. They have isolated the chemical responsible for that and it is available as a vitamin. I still do not see any benefit to drinking nor downside to abstaining.
acarrilho
1 / 5 (1) Aug 03, 2009
Fine, I admit I kind of bunched all alcohol consumers into a single group there, and it is the heavy drinkers that are the real issue. In moderation, I guess it would have little or no long term effect.


Sorry to insist, but there IS a long term effect. Lots of studies demonstrate moderate consumption of fermented beverages has many health benefits. Distilled drinks... well it obviously depends, but mild liquors once in a while are also good for you.
Soylent
not rated yet Aug 04, 2009
The only health benefits I have heard of are in regard to red wine, though.


There is stronger evidence that low to moderate alcohol consumption is beneficial than that reservatol in red wine does anything at all.

They have isolated the chemical responsible for that and it is available as a vitamin.


The evidence that antioxidants are helpful, reservatol, beta carotene or otherwise, is scant at best. People wish it were so, it's called "confirmation bias", therefor readily accept even scant evidence.
Velanarris
not rated yet Aug 04, 2009
It would make sense that alcohol could be relevant in cases of cancer.

I think you either have the genes for cancer or you don't, and the greater the stresses you endure, be them chemical, social, etc, the greater chance that you'll irritate the gene and it will become expressed.

After all, stress starts the process that changes cholesterol to cortisol, which is known to have a role in gene expression.