Subjects: Behavioral health
Sadly, the adage that moderate alcohol intake carries minimal risk and may actually be beneficial in some ways has taken a beating lately.
First, a study out of Oxford showed that one lousy alcoholic beverage per day increases the risk of multiple cancers in women.
And now, scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health are reporting that people who consume 2 or more alcoholic drinks per day have a 22% higher risk for pancreatic cancer.
Stephanie Smith-Warner and colleagues published the disquieting news in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention.
The scientists had noted that in several prospective cohort analyses, risk ratios for developing pancreatic cancer were greater than one when high alcohol intake cohorts were compared with teetotalers, but in none of these studies did the difference reach statistical significance.
That’s a situation that begs for a meta-analysis, and Smith-Warner’s team jumped all over it.
The scientists rolled-up 14 studies involving 860,000 people, spun the numbers and eked out the finding.
The increased risk for pancreatic cancer remained intact after full multivariate adjustment for known risk factors like age, diabetes, smoking and BMI.
Oddly, it held for women only. There was a trend in the same direction for men, but it wasn’t significant.
A similar, non-significant trend was found for those consuming fewer than 2 drinks per day, but the association only achieved significance in the 2+ drinks per day cohort.
The type alcoholic beverage didn’t matter, by the way. Wine, beer, hard stuff, it was all the same.