March 16, 2011

Heavy Drinking And Gullet Cancer

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Heavy drinking is not associated with one of the two most common types of gullet (oesophageal) cancer, according to this study.

Gullet cancer is the sixth leading cause of cancer death worldwide and occurs as one of two main types: squamous cell carcinoma or adenocarcinoma.

But while rates of gullet adenocarcinoma have soared in many Western countries over the past three decades, those of squamous cell carcinoma have been falling. The squamous cell variety is strongly linked to alcohol consumption.

The authors looked at data involving 15,000 patients and found that heavy drinkers - seven or more alcoholic drinks a day - were more than 9.5 times as likely to develop oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma as non-drinkers.

However,  the authors found no evidence linking this level of alcohol consumption, or, for that matter, any particular type of alcohol, to heightened risk of either oesophageal adenocarcinoma or OGJA.

In addition, light drinkers - half to one unit of alcohol daily - had a lower risk of these gullet cancers than non-drinkers, although low alcohol consumption could simply reflect other aspects of a healthy lifestyle, or chance, say the authors.

"Our results for [oesophageal adenocarcinoma] and OGJA stand in remarkable contrast to results for [oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma] in this and previously published studies," the authors were quoted as saying.

SOURCE: Gut, published online March 14, 2011