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Million women study shows even moderate alcohol consumption associated with increased cancer risk
Date:2/24/2009

ophageal, laryngeal, and liver cancers. For these cancers combined, there was an excess of about 15 cancers per 1000 women per drink per day. (The background incidence for these cancers was estimated to be 118 per 1000 women in developed countries.)

"Although the magnitude of the excess absolute risk associated with one additional drink per day may appear small for some cancer sites, the high prevalence of moderate alcohol drinking among women in many populations means that the proportion of cancers attributable to alcohol is an important public health issue," the authors write.

In an accompanying editorial, Michael Lauer M.D., and Paul Sorlie, Ph.D., of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, in Bethesda, M.D., emphasize that these new results derived from such a large study population should give readers pause. Although previous epidemiological studies have suggested that there is a cardiovascular benefit associated with moderate alcohol consumption, the excess cancer risk identified in the current study may outweigh that benefit. "From a standpoint of cancer risk, the message of this report could not be clearer. There is no level of alcohol consumption that can be considered safe," the editorialists write.


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Contact: Caroline McNeil
jncimedia@oxfordjournals.org
301-841-1287
Journal of the National Cancer Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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