If you consume alcohol on a regular basis, here is some information
you'll want to know. Past research has shown a link between
alcohol intake and colorectal cancer. According to a recent
study in the journal Gut, however, that risk diminishes when
the alcohol consumed is wine, as opposed to beer and other
Researchers in Denmark conducted a study of approximately
30,000 men and women between the ages of 23 and 95 over a
period of nearly 15 years. The amount and types of alcohol
consumed were determined at the beginning of the study period,
and cases of colon and rectal cancer recorded in the Danish
Cancer Registry were used to determine possible relationships
to drinking alcohol.
Those who consumed over 14 drinks per week in the form of
beer and spirits only were over three times more likely to
develop rectal cancer than nondrinkers. On the other hand,
people who drank the same amount of alcohol, but reporting
one-third of their drinks to be wine, were less than twice
as likely to develop this form of cancer. The researchers
also found that people who drank excessively (more than 41
alcoholic beverages per week) had twice the risk of developing
rectal cancer than nondrinkers, regardless of the type of
This study offers two important points to alcohol drinkers:
First, drinking any alcohol appears to increase a person's
risk for rectal cancer. The more you drink, the higher your
risk for cancer. Second, if you do drink, you may want to
consider sticking to wine. The powerful antioxidants in wine
appear to blunt some of the harmful effects of alcohol.
Pedersen A, Johansen C, Grønbaek
M. Relations between amount and type of alcohol and colon
and rectal cancer in a Danish population based cohort study.
Gut 2003:52(6), pp. 861-867.
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