Heavy alcohol consumption linked to colorectal cancer

But moderate consumption of wine may be protective

Stony Brook University (Stony Brook, NY) researchers report that people who drink at least 9 glasses of alcoholic beverages made with distilled spirits per week for more than 10 years are much more likely than nondrinkers to develop colorectal cancer or premalignant polyps. They also note a protective effect for those who drink wine. The results, which will be presented at the 68th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology, confirm the results of other studies.

Nearly 2,000 asymptomatic patients participated in the study. All had a screening colonoscopy, which uses a long, thin scope to examine the entire length of the colon. Cancer or suspicious polyps were found in the left colon of 6.1 percent of the nondrinkers and of 17.4 percent of those who drank at least 9 glasses per week of spirits for more than 10 years.

After adjusting for age, sex, family history, smoking, diet, weight, exercise, and educational level, the risk from heavy alcohol consumption remained.

“When screening for colorectal neoplasia, risk assessment is based on age and family history but not on facts such as behavior or lifestyle,” said Gurvinder Sethi, M.D., of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Stony Brook University. “Based on our data, we suggest that patients with significant spirits intake may benefit from more intensive CRC screening.”

The ACG was formed in 1932 to advance the scientific study and medical treatment of disorders of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The College promotes the highest standards in medical education and is guided by its commitment to meeting the needs of clinical gastroenterology practitioners. Consumers can get more information on GI diseases through the following ACG-sponsored programs:

1-800-978-7666 (free brochures on common GI disorders, including ulcer, colon cancer, gallstones, and liver disease)
1-866-IBS-RELIEF and www.ibsrelief.org (free educational materials)
1-800-HRT-BURN (free brochure and video on heartburn and GERD)
www.acg.gi.org (ACG’s Web site)
Contact:
Malaika Hilliard
202/973-5896
mhilliard@porternovelli.com

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