THURSDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- While smoking has long been linked to cancer, its frequent companion, drinking, may be as well, a new study suggests.
Three new studies presented at a medical meeting this week find a link between heavy boozing and a rise in risk for the number one cancer killer.
On the other hand, studies also suggest that heavier people are less likely to develop lung cancer than smaller folk, and black tea might help ward of the disease, as well.
The findings were to be presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians, Oct. 22-26, in Honolulu.
More Americans die from lung cancer than any other form, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2007, the most recent year for which statistics are available, more than 203,000 people in the United States were diagnosed with lung cancer, and nearly 159,000 died.
In one study presented at the meeting, Dr. Stanton Siu and colleagues at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif., looked at the diets and lifestyles of more than 126,000 people first surveyed between 1978 and 1985. They then tracked their incidence of lung cancer through 2008.
The team found that having more than three alcoholic drinks per day upped lung cancer risk, with a slightly higher risk ascribed to beer consumption versus wine or liquor. Specifically, compared to teetotalers, people who had three or more drinks daily were 30 percent more likely to develop lung cancer, with a 70 percent rise in risk if the drink of preference was beer.
One expert stressed, however, that it's tough to tease out drinking from another, even more carcinogenic habit, smoking, since the two often go together.
"Smoking remains an overwhelming factor, but . . . heavy drinking, whether it's the alcohol itself, or that heavy drinking is a surrogate for hanging out in smoky bars and g
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