Drinking Moderately Increases Cancer Risk For Men

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A man who drinks moderate or high amounts of alcohol over the course of his life appears to raise his risk for developing certain kinds of cancer and having a greater need for health insurance.

Canadian researchers found that the more men drink, the greater their risk for specific cancers. However, the link appears to involve mostly beer and spirit consumption, not wine. According to a report from the American Association for Critical Illness insurance, the study did not explore risk among women. Cancer is a primary condition covered by both critical illness and traditional health insurance policies.

Scientists reported that cancer risk among men increased for some of the 13 cancers examined. These include esophageal, colon, stomach, liver, lung and prostate cancers. The study found that men who reported the highest consumption had a quite higher risk increase for these cancers, relative to those reporting lower-consumption drinker.

Among men who reported drinking on a daily or weekly basis, alcohol was linked to an increased risk for nearly half of the cancer types -- specifically, esophageal, stomach, colon, liver, lung and prostate cancer. And the more alcohol that such regular drinkers consumed, the higher their risk rose relative to those who did not drink at all or drank infrequently, the study reported.

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The report published online in Cancer Detection and Prevention noted that alcohol could be the prime culprit in up to five percent of deaths from all cancers combined. Health insurance experts noted another recent study specifically revealed that heavy drinking in particular raises the risk for developing aggressive prostate cancer in men while undermining the effectiveness of the popular prostate cancer prevention drug finasteride (Proscar).

The Canadian research team used data first collected in the 1980s for a study that sought to examine potential links between hundreds of occupational hazards and cancer risk. For the new study, the researchers focused on nearly 3,600 people for whom they had data on alcohol use as well as their cancer history. Types of cancer represented were bladder, colon, esophageal, kidney, liver, lung, Hodgkin's lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, melanoma, pancreatic, prostate, rectal and stomach.

SOURCES: Andrea Benedetti, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Medicine and Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, McGill University, Montreal; William J. Blot, Ph.D., professor and associate director, cancer prevention, control and population-based research, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, Tenn.; May 2009 Cancer Detection and Prevention, online

Reference: Gazette

Written by Jesse Slome from the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance

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