Drinking May Increase Risk of Death from Pancreatic Cancer
Significant risk associated with 3 drinks daily for men, 4 for women;
risk not noted for wine or beer
March 14, 2011
Alcohol consumption at least in moderation has been enjoying a run
of studies finding benefits for the consumers, senior citizens in
particular. There is bad news today, however, with a finding that
drinking three or more glasses of liquor a day increases the risk of
death from pancreatic cancer.
This association was
observed for liquor consumption but not for beer or wine.
consumption has before been casually related to several cancers,
including oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, colorectum
and female breast," according to the report report in the March 14 issue
of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
And, the authors
note, "Heavy alcohol consumption causes acute and chronic pancreatitis
but has never been linked definitively to pancreatic cancer."
Using data from the
Cancer Prevention Study II (CPS-II), Susan M. Gapstur, Ph.D., M.P.H.,
and colleagues from the American Cancer Society, Atlanta, examined the
association between alcohol intake and pancreatic cancer.
The CPS-II is a
long-term prospective study of U.S. adults 30 years and older. Initial
data on alcohol consumption was gathered in 1982, and based on follow-up
through 2006, there were 6,847 pancreatic cancer deaths among one
Of the million
participants (453,770 men and 576,697 women), 45.7 percent of men and
62.5 percent of women were non-drinkers.
The analyses of men
only and of men and women combined showed statistically significant
increased risk of pancreatic cancer death for consumption of three
drinks per day and four or more drinks per day, whereas for women only
the estimated risk of death from pancreatic cancer was statistically
significant for consumption of four or more drinks per day.
non-drinkers, consuming three or more drinks of liquor per day was
associated with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer death in the
total study population, and consumption of two or more drinks of liquor
per day was associated with an increased risk in both never smokers and
in those who had ever smoked.
In never smokers,
there was a 36 percent higher risk of pancreatic cancer death associated
with consuming three or more drinks a day compared with non-drinkers for
men and women combined. In those who had ever smoked, there was a 16
percent higher risk of death from pancreatic cancer after adjustment for
smoking history and other variables.
"Findings from the
prospective study presented herein strongly support the hypothesis that
alcohol consumption, in particular heavy intake, also is an independent
risk factor for pancreatic cancer, the fourth most common cause of
cancer mortality [death] in the United States," the authors conclude.
Note: The American
Cancer Society funds the creation, maintenance, and updating of the
Cancer Prevention Study II cohort.
Links to more Reports on Seniors and Alcohol in our
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what we eat, drink impacts dementia
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