Alcohol Plays a Role in Lung Cancer Development

Light to moderate alcohol consumption might not increase the risk of lung cancer, according to a study of more than 9,000 people since 1948. People who consumed one to two alcoholic drinks a day had the same chance of developing lung cancer as non-drinkers. The effects of smoking were statistically eliminated as a factor in the results.

The researchers found 269 cases of lung cancer among the participants. They were matched by age, sex, and smoking history with patients who did not have lung cancer. The drinking habits of the two groups were then examined. Results showed that light to moderate alcohol consumption was not a factor in the lung cancer diagnosis.

A subcategory in the study, "offspring who drank more than two drinks (12 g.) a day," did show an increase in the risk of lung cancer. That group had double the incidence of cancer than the nondrinkers of the same ages, smoking history, and sex.

(Source: Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2002;94:1877-1882.)

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