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Nutrition, Vitamins & Supplements for Seniors

Light Alcohol Drinking Decreases Cancer Risk; More Frequency Jumps Cancer Death Rate

Large study of cancer victims investigates alcohol consumption and cancer mortality - see Q&A by CDC on alcohol consumption below story

Oct. 20, 2011 - Light to moderate alcohol consumption does not appear to increase the risk of cancer, says a new study from the National Institutes of Health. In fact, light drinking was shown to result in a significant decrease in cancer risk. But, as the quantity of alcohol consumed increased from 1 drink to 3 or more on drinking days, risk of cancer mortality increased by 22% among all participants.

 

Related Archive Stories

 
 

Heavy Liquor 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 by Elderly Reduces Risk of Dementia, Alzheimer’s

Most studies of senior citizens in last 31 years show association between moderate alcohol consumption and better cognitive function and reduced risk of dementia

March 7, 2011

Heavy Alcohol Drinking Spurs High-Grade Prostate Cancer, Stops Prevention by Finasteride

Four or more drinks on 5 or more days per week doubles risk of high-grade prostate cancer

July 13, 2009


More on alcohol and seniors below news report and Q&A.


Read more on Nutrition, Vitamins & Supplements

 

The analysis is based on the National Health Interview Survey in the U.S., assessing more than 300,000 subjects who suffered over 8,000 deaths from cancer. The research reports on total cancer deaths and deaths from lung, colorectal, prostate, and breast cancers.

Comments on this critique are provided by the International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research.

Study Highlights

   ● Moderate drinking consistently shows no effect in the analysis, and only heavier drinking was associated with an increase in all-site cancer risk.

   ● Light to moderate consumption was not associated with site-specific cancers of the lung, colorectal, breast, or prostate.

   ● For site-specific cancers, an increase in risk of lung cancer was seen for heavier drinkers, with a tendency for less cancer among light drinkers.

   ● There was no evidence of an effect of total alcohol consumption on colorectal, prostate, or breast cancer.

The authors excluded non-drinkers in a second analysis in which they used categories of usual daily quantity and of frequency of consumption in an attempt to investigate their separate effects.

   ● For all-site cancer and for lung cancer, these results again show an increase in risk only for drinkers reporting greater amounts of alcohol.

   ● The data also show an increase in cancer risk from more frequent drinking among women but not among men.

   ● For colorectal, prostate, and breast cancer, there is no clear pattern of an increase in risk from quantity of alcohol consumed.

   ● For frequency of drinking, again there is a suggestion of an increase in mortality risk with more frequent drinking, although the trends are not statistically significant.

   ● Heavier drinking (three drinks or more per occasion) is known to be associated with a large number of adverse health effects, including certain cancers, as was shown in this study.

When considering cancer, alcohol consumption should not be considered in isolation, but in conjunction with, other lifestyle behaviors (especially smoking when considering lung cancer). Both quantity and frequency of consumption need to be considered when evaluating the relation of alcohol to cancer; further, beverage-specific effects need to be further evaluated.


Frequently Asked Questions About Alcohol

   ● What is a standard drink in the United States?

A standard drink is equal to 13.7 grams (0.6 ounces) of pure alcohol. Generally, this amount of pure alcohol is found in
      > 12-ounces of beer.
      > 8-ounces of malt liquor.
      > 5-ounces of wine.
      > 1.5-ounces or a “shot” of 80-proof distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, or whiskey).

   ● Is beer or wine safer to drink than liquor?

No. One 12-ounce beer has about the same amount of alcohol as one 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5-ounce shot of liquor. It is the amount of alcohol consumed that affects a person most, not the type of alcoholic drink.

   ● What does moderate drinking mean?
There is no one definition of moderate drinking, but generally the term is used to describe a lower-risk pattern of drinking. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans,1 drinking in moderation is defined as having no more than 1 drink per day for women and no more than 2 drinks per day for men. This definition is referring to the amount consumed on any single day and is not intended as an average over several days.

>> More at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Links to more Reports on Seniors and Alcohol in our Archives

Senior Citizens See Almost 40% Drop in Dementia Risk with Moderate Alcohol Drinking

Study of seniors age 75 and older confirms benefits of alcohol in preventing dementia that had been proven for middle aged adults - July 13, 2009


Older People Reduce Death Risk by 25 Percent with Daily Moderate Alcohol Consumption

Large study of people over age 55 says any way you look at it, moderate alcohol is beneficial

March 30, 2009


No Matter if Wine is Red or White, it Can Increase Beast Cancer Risk for Women

Large study shows breast cancer risk increase the same from wine, beer or liquor

March 9, 2009


Older People More Impaired by Social Drinking, More Likely to Think They are OK

It's not clear why but it seems to be a difference in alcohol metabolism: alcohol may affect the brain of older adults differently.

March 5, 2009


Million Women Study Finds Even Moderate Alcohol Consumption Increases Cancer Risk

Risk increases with increase in alcohol consumption and smoking, regardless of alcohol source, i.e., wine, spirits, etc.

Feb. 25, 2009


Drinking Alcohol May Protect Hearts in Older People but It Shrinks Their Brains

The more alcohol consumed, the smaller the total brain volume; stronger in women

Oct. 13, 2008


Red Wine Lowers Lung Cancer Risk in Older Men, Especially Smokers

Two percent lower lung cancer risk with each glass of red wine consumed per month

Oct. 7, 2008


Resverstrol in Red Wine Prevents Breast Cancer Development in Laboratory Study

Prevents first step when estrogen starts process that leads to cancer by blocking formation of DNA adducts

July 7, 2008


Resveratrol in Red Wine May Achieve Same Longevity Results as Starvation Dieting

Study important because it suggests that resveratrol and caloric restriction may govern the same master genetic pathways related to aging

June 4, 2008


Another Study Points to Higher Breast Cancer Risk from Alcohol for Older Women

The more older (postmenopausal) women drink the greater the risk

April 14, 2008


New Study Confirms Red Wine Antioxidant Kills Cancer

Researchers pinpoint how resveratrol induces pancreatic cancer cell death

March 26, 2008


Red Wine Element Reverses Pathways of Obesity That Cause Age-Related Diseases

Resveratrol previously found to extend lifespan of other organisms may help against heart disease, diabetes

November 2, 2006


Wine, Beer, Liquor It Doesn't Matter – Too Much Jumps Breast Cancer Risk

Three drinks of alcohol a day is as bad as smoking a pack a day

Sept. 27, 2007


Moderate Drinking May Boost Memory and Protect Against Alzheimer's

Research grows saying what we eat, drink impacts dementia

November 2, 2006

 

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