"We've known, for example, for maybe 30 years now that heavy drinking increases the risk for esophageal cancer," he said. "And drinking and oral cancer of the oral cavity and larynx are also well-established risks. Those are the strongest associations previously identified, although pancreatic and liver cancers have also been linked in the past, while lung cancer has generally not been considered to be an alcohol-related cancer because, in reality, it's really almost impossible to de-link smokers from drinkers since the two behaviors tend to overlap so frequently."
Blot also noted that, when broken down by cancer type, the number of men with some of the cancers was "not particularly large."
The study included all types of cancer from the original study that had been diagnosed in at least 25 participants. The numbers ranged from a low of 28 men with liver cancer to a high of 700 with lung cancer.
"There have been other studies with quite a few more patients that, therefore, have more precise information," Blot said. "So, I would say there is really nothing new or striking about this finding."
The American Cancer Society has more on alcohol and cancer.
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
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