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Last Updated: Nov 17th, 2006 - 22:35:04

Risk Factors Channel
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Latest Research : Cancer : Risk Factors

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Alcohol increases the risk of cancers - Study
Feb 1, 2005, 13:02, Reviewed by: Dr.

Consumption of alcohol, including wine, increases the risk of several common cancers, even though many studies confirm a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease from alcohol intake. An article appearing in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis presents definite evidence of these findings amongst other papers as part of an open forum discussion on wine, alcohol, and cardiovascular risk.

"Moderate alcohol drinking, less than 25 grams per day, has a favorable role on cardiovascular disease risk," states Professor Carlo La Vecchia, co-author of the article. "[However] it is associated with increased risk of cancers of the upper digestive tract and larynx, and also of the intestines, liver, and breast." The article lists primary liver cancer, cancers of the female breast and of the large bowel in both sexes, as being associated with alcohol drinking. Further death from diseases including cirrhosis, chronic pancreatitis, hypertension and stroke are strongly related to alcohol drinking.

The analysis was based on a quantitative review, or meta-analysis, of 156 different studies, and heavy alcohol drinking was strongly linked to the diseases noted. The risks are shown to increase with the amount of alcohol consumed yet the overall evidence does not determine "whether there is any threshold, below which no effect is evident."

- Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis

The Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis is available at http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=1538-7933&site=1

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Carlo La Vecchia, MD, MSc, is Head of the Laboratory of Epidemiology at the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Milan, Italy. His main fields of interest include cancer epidemiology and the risk related to diet, tobacco, oral contraceptive use and occupational or environmental exposure to toxic substances; and analysis of temporal trends and geographical distribution of mortality from cancer, cardiovascular diseases, perinatal and other selected conditions. Dr. La Vecchia has authored or co-authored over 1,140 publications in peer-reviewed journals on these subjects. He can be reached for questions and interviews at +39 02 39014 527 or

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Alcohol increases the risk of cancers - Study

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