High Alcohol Intake, Family History Impact Colon CA Risk

Daily drinking raises colon cancer risk, especially if there is a family history of colorectal cancer

FRIDAY, Feb. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Individuals who consume 30 g alcohol or more per day have a significantly elevated risk of colon cancer, especially those with a family history of colorectal cancer, according to a study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Eunyoung Cho, Sc.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and associates conducted a prospective study of 87,861 women and 47,290 men in the Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, to investigate the impact of family history of colorectal cancer on the association between alcohol consumption and colon cancer.

The researchers identified 1,094 cases of colon cancer in women and 707 in men during 26 and 20 years of follow-up, respectively. For individuals in the highest intake category of alcohol (≥30 g/day), there was a significant association between alcohol consumption and risk of colon cancer. The pooled multivariate risk ratio for alcohol consumption of ≥30 g/day was 1.23 for those with no family history and 2.02 for those with a family history, compared with nondrinkers. The risk ratio for colon cancer was 2.80 for those who consumed ≥30 g/day of alcohol and had a family history, compared with nondrinkers with no family history.

"We found that alcohol consumption was associated with an elevated risk of colon cancer, especially among those with a positive family history," the authors write. "Reducing alcohol consumption may decrease the incidence of colon cancer, especially in this highly susceptible population."

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