The findings come from an American Cancer Society study of 1 million patients followed from 1982 until 2006.
The researchers used data collected from the Cancer Prevention Study II, a long-term study of 453,770 men and 576,697 women over the age of 30 who were first asked about their alcohol consumption in 1982. As of 2006, there were 6,847 pancreatic cancer deaths reported among those participants.
Increased Cancer Risks
Some of the American Cancer Society findings included:
- For men, three or more drinks a day increased the risk of dying from pancreatic cancer.
- For women, the risk was significantly higher at four drinks per day.
- The risk was 36% higher for never smokers who had three drinks per day.
- After adjusting for smoking history, smokers were 16% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer.
The researchers concluded that drinking three or more standard drinks per day increases pancreatic cancer mortality independent of smoking. These higher risks were found for liquor drinkers only. No significant increase was found for beer and wine drinkers, the authors wrote.
Heavy alcohol consumption has been previously linked to cancer of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, colorectum and female breast. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer death in the United States.
Source: Gapstur SM, et al. "Association of Alcohol Intake With Pancreatic Cancer Mortality in Never Smokers." Archives of Internal Medicine 14 March 20ll. More: