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Heavy alcohol use, binge drinking, might increase risk of pancreatic cancer, researcher reports
Date:5/18/2010

DALLAS May 19, 2010 Heavy alcohol use and binge drinking could increase the risk of pancreatic cancer in men, research from UT Southwestern Medical Center suggests.

In a study available online in Cancer Causes and Control, researchers found that the more alcohol a man consumed, the higher his risk of pancreatic cancer compared with those who drank little or no alcohol.

"If this relationship continues to be confirmed, reducing heavy and binge drinking may be more important than we already know," said Dr. Samir Gupta, assistant professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and lead author of the study, which was conducted at the University of California, San Francisco.

Researchers found that men who consumed alcohol increased their risk of pancreatic cancer by 1.5 to 6 times compared with those who didn't consume alcohol or who had less than one drink per month. The increased risk depended on the amount and frequency of alcohol consumption. Researchers found that the risk was greater no matter when in the past heavy drinking occurred.

They also found that men who engaged in binge drinking had a 3.5 times greater likelihood of developing pancreatic cancer. Their risk also was greater regardless of when the binge episodes occurred.

Researchers defined one drink as a can, bottle or 12 ounces of beer; a 4-ounce glass of wine; or one shot of liquor. Each of these servings contains about 14 grams of alcohol. The heaviest drinkers consumed 21 to 35 drinks per week. Binge drinking was defined as consuming five or more drinks during one drinking episode.

Researchers did not find the association among women, possibly due to the lower proportion of women who reported heavy or binge drinking, said Dr. Gupta, who also is affiliated with the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern.

"Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers, so any risk factor that can be identified and
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Contact: LaKisha Ladson
lakisha.ladson@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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