Increased Risk of Death from Pancreatic Cancer Associated with Heavy Drinking


Research published in the March 14 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine concluded that heavy alcohol consumption (three or more glasses of liquor a day) is associated with an increase risk of death from pancreatic cancer. Although alcohol had been previously related to cancers of various sites and to acute and chronic pancreatitis it had never been associated with pancreatic cancer according to the researchers.

The researchers used data from the Cancer Prevention Study II (CPS-II) in which initial data on alcohol consumption was collected in 1982 and follow up data was collected through 2006. This data showed 6,847 pancreatic cancer deaths among the one million participants. Of these 45.7 percent of the men and 62.6 percent of the women were non-drinkers. For men only and for men and women combined the data show a statistically significant increase risk of pancreatic cancer deaths for 3 drinks a day and for four or more drinks a day. For women alone the estimated risk of death was statistically significant for 4 drinks or more a day. When compared with non-drinkers three of more drinks of liquor daily was associated with an increase risk of death from pancreatic cancer in the total group.

For those who had never smoked, there was a 36% higher risk of death from pancreatic cancer in those who drank three or more drinks a day compared with non-drinkers for men and women combined. Findings strongly support the hypothesis that a high intake of alcohol is a risk factor for pancreatic cancer deaths.

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