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Moderate drinking beats teetotalism on associated colorectal cancer risk.

Los Angeles -- Individuals who consume moderate amounts of alcohol have a lower risk of developing colorectal adenomas compared with heavy drinkers, according to research presented at the annual Digestive Disease Week.

Furthermore, compared with teetotalism, moderate alcohol consumption--between 2 and 7 drinks per week--may actually protect against the disease, said the study's lead investigator Dr. Greg Austin of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

In a case-control analysis, 203 case patients and 522 controls each underwent a full colonoscopy and completed the National Cancer Institute's food frequency questionnaire.

Patients were divided into groups based on the average number of alcoholic drinks they reported consuming each week--none, less than 2, between 2 and 7, between 7 and 14, and 14 or more drinks.

Individuals who reported consuming an average of less than two drinks a week or between two and seven drinks per week had the lowest probability of developing colorectal adenoma. The investigators used the individuals who reported consuming between two and seven drinks as a reference group in the study, Dr. Austin said.

Those who abstained from alcohol use, the largest group in the study, had about a 40% increased risk compared with moderate drinkers.

Heavier drinkers had the highest risk. Individuals who consumed between 7 and 14 drinks per week had about a 60% increased risk of developing adenoma compared with the reference group and those who consumed 14 drinks or more had a 150% increased risk.

The researchers controlled for potential confounding factors including sex, age, body mass index, race, smoking, and the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications.

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Author:Schneider, Mary Ellen
Publication:Family Practice News
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 15, 2006
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