Heavy alcohol ups pancreatic cancer risk
High daily alcohol consumption over time may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer though no association is found between low-to-moderate alcohol intake and risk of pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic cancer, one of the most fatal cancers globally with a 5-year survival rate of 6% or less, has no effective screening tests. It has been linked to cigarette smoking, diabetes mellitus, and obesity with some reports suggesting that chronic alcohol consumption may predispose an individual to it. Researchers in the Netherlands investigated the association between alcohol consumption and the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
They evaluated self-reports of daily alcohol consumption completed by 120,852 men and women aged between 55 and 69 years who were enrolled in the Netherlands Cohort Study, a long-term investigation into potential risk factors for cancer. During a follow-up period of more than 13 years, 350 cases of pancreatic cancer were detected of whom almost 80 percent reported daily alcohol intake.
It was found that heavy drinkers, compared with non-drinkers, had a statistically significant increased risk (nearly 1.8-times) for pancreatic cancer in analyses that factored for age and gender. A significantly increased risk for pancreatic cancer was found among men and women who consume 30 gm or more of ethanol daily - the equivalent of almost four beers, three glasses of wine or just over two servings of gin, brandy, whiskey, or liqueur.
When the investigators further allowed for smoking status, calorie intake, fruit and vegetable intake, and body mass, the risk among heavy drinkers was still nearly 1.6-times greater than non-drinkers. No association was found between the type of alcoholic beverage consumed and pancreatic cancer risk indicating no specific effect of any particular beverage type on top of the general effect of ethanol.
They above findings highlight the need for continued, long-duration investigations to further assess how heavy alcohol intake impacts pancreatic cancer risk.
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