Alcohol linked to stomach cancer

While some studies indicate that moderate consumption of alcohol can have health benefits, many other reports highlight the many dangers of excessive drinking. A new study has found that those who excessively drink are placing themselves at a higher risk of developing stomach cancer.

A recent European study published in the American Journal of clinical Nutrition suggests there is a link between drinking alcohol and stomach cancer. The study which involved 500,000 adults suggests that men who take more than four alcoholic drinks a day are at a greater risk. It was found that of the 10,000 men who said they averaged four alcoholic drinks a day at the outset of the analysis were twice as likely to develop cancer, than light drinkers. (a light drinker was set as an adult who drank half a drink or less a day). The analysis also showed that the connection was gender specific and some alcoholic drinks were more likely to cause problems than others.

Results of the study appear to be gender specific

Analysis of the study results suggested that men rather than women showed a link between alcohol intake and cancer. However, there may be reasons other than gender that explain why these results were seen on analysis. It seems not all alcoholic drinks proved to have a link. It was beer drinkers rather than wine and liquor drinkers who were being affected. Even though women drink beer more in today’s society, the highest proportion of beer drinkers are male. Also, there were fewer female alcoholics in the study – less than 2,300.

Could smoking be a mitigating factor?

Those who have questioned research like this in the past have highlighted the concern that there maybe other factors in the culture of an individual who drinks heavily, which may be causing or triggering stomach cancer. For instance smoking and heavy drinking traditionally go together, and smoking is also known to cause cancer. However, Dr. Eric Duell of the Catalan Institute of Oncology in Barcelona, who lead the study, stated these factors were taken into consideration.

If heavy drinking does trigger the development of stomach cancer, a possible cause may be due to the metabolic byproducts of alcohol — called acetaldehyde. According to Dr. Duell’s team, the substance is a known human carcinogen.

Taking the results of the study into account, experts have further reflected on how drinkers can protect themselves in the future. Advice to men is to take no more than 2 drinks a day and women no more than 2 drinks a day.

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