Binge drinking ups pancreatic cancer risk in men

May 19th, 2010 - 3:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, May 19 (IANS) Heavy alcohol use could up pancreatic cancer risk in men, says a new study.
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 Samir Gupta, assistant professor of internal medicine at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre (UTSMC).

Researchers found that men who consumed alcohol increased their risk of pancreatic cancer by 1.5-6 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.

“Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers, so any risk factor that can be identified and addressed may save lives,” Gupta said.

The 532 cancer patients surveyed ranged in age from 21 to 85, with the majority between 60 and 80 years of age, said a university release.

Fifty-five percent of study participants were men; 83 percent of them were Caucasian; and most of them were of normal weight with some college education. The 1,701 control participants were of similar demographics.

These findings were published online in Cancer Causes and Control.

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