Heavy Drinking Linked To Stomach Cancer Risk

According to a large European study and analysis, men who take down at least four alcoholic drinks a day may have a greater risk of getting stomach cancer. Some studies have looked at whether individuals’ drinking habits may put a bearing on their risk of stomach cancer. The latest findings which involved about 500,000 adults in Europe have suggested that heavy drinking men are more likely to develop cancer than those people who drink lighter.

At the onset of the study, more than 10,000 men said that they averaged more than four drinks each day. Their odds of developing stomach cancer over the succeeding decade were two times greater than those who drink lightly. Light drinkers include those who rink about half a drink each day or lesser than that.

As the researchers looked more into the type of alcohol they consumed, they realized that beer, as opposed to wine or other liquor, is more linked to the chances of getting stomach cancer. No connections were seen among women, according to the researchers who was lead by Dr. Eric Duell of the Catalan Institute of Oncology in Barcelona. However, there were also far fewer heavy alcoholics among the female participants of the study (less than 2,300).

In the report that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the study does not prove that it is the alcohol content itself that caused stomach cancer among men. The absolute risk for any heavy drinker may be small. Out of nearly 13,000 men and women who drank heavily upon entering the study, only 33 develop stomach cancer during the follow up period.

Experts recommended that people who drink must only do so in moderation. Generally, this means that no more than two drinks per day for men and no more than one drink per day for women should be tolerated. Liver scarring, stomach cancer as well as cancer of the throat and mouth are some of the conditions associated with heavy alcoholism.

In the US and other Western nations, stomach cancer is relatively uncommon. However, as compared to other classes of nations, it is more prevalent in developing nations. About 21,500 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with stomach cancer this year, says the American Cancer Society.

Also, another possible risk factors for the disease is smoking. In previous studies, it has been said that separating the side effects of alcoholism and smoking would be difficult since people, most often than not have both habits. However, in the current study, the group of Duell found out that heavy drinking is linked to stomach cancer despite their smoking habits.

The link is also held when researchers considered dietary practices of people and infection of H. Pylori, a common pathogen which causes ulcers. Although many people with H. Pylori infection do not develop cancer in the long run, exacerbating infection is said to raise the risk of stomach cancer in certain groups.

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

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