Drinking alcohol increases risk for cancer

January 31, 2005

Consumption of alcohol, including wine, increases the risk of several common cancers, even though many studies confirm a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease from alcohol intake. An article appearing in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis presents definite evidence of these findings amongst other papers as part of an open forum discussion on wine, alcohol, and cardiovascular risk.

"Moderate alcohol drinking, less than 25 grams per day, has a favorable role on cardiovascular disease risk," states Professor Carlo La Vecchia, co-author of the article. "[However] it is associated with increased risk of cancers of the upper digestive tract and larynx, and also of the intestines, liver, and breast." The article lists primary liver cancer, cancers of the female breast and of the large bowel in both sexes, as being associated with alcohol drinking. Further death from diseases including cirrhosis, chronic pancreatitis, hypertension and stroke are strongly related to alcohol drinking.

The analysis was based on a quantitative review, or meta-analysis, of 156 different studies, and heavy alcohol drinking was strongly linked to the diseases noted. The risks are shown to increase with the amount of alcohol consumed yet the overall evidence does not determine "whether there is any threshold, below which no effect is evident."
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About the Author
Carlo La Vecchia, MD, MSc, is Head of the Laboratory of Epidemiology at the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Milan, Italy. His main fields of interest include cancer epidemiology and the risk related to diet, tobacco, oral contraceptive use and occupational or environmental exposure to toxic substances; and analysis of temporal trends and geographical distribution of mortality from cancer, cardiovascular diseases, perinatal and other selected conditions. Dr. La Vecchia has authored or co-authored over 1,140 publications in peer-reviewed journals on these subjects. He can be reached for questions and interviews at +39 02 39014 527 or lavecchia@marionegri.it.

This article is published in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article please contact medicalnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.net.

About the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis
Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, the official journal of the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis, is advancing science related to the important medical problems of thrombosis, bleeding disorders and vascular biology through the diffusion and exchange of information and ideas within the international research community. The Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis is now available in print and online.

About Blackwell Publishing
Blackwell Publishing is the world's leading society publisher, partnering with more than 550 academic and professional societies. Blackwell publishes over 750 journals and 600 text and reference books annually, across a wide range of academic, medical, and professional subjects.

The Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis is available at http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=1538-7933&site=1.

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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