If you love drinking, you probably won’t quit to prevent pancreatic cancer, but it would be nice to know just how much drinking you can get away with every day before your risk of pancreatic cancer jumps from alcohol consumption.
Drinking can increase risk of pancreatic cancer, says a report in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.
This 2009 study report applies to men and women. The study involved compiling information about environmental and dietary exposures prior to diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
This particular investigation pooled data compiled from 14 studies – the data in all of the studies having been collected before diagnoses.
Total individuals involved was 862,664, and of those, 2,187 were eventually diagnosed with this ruthless killer.
Drinking raises risk of diabetes and pancreatitis, and these two conditions are risk factors for pancreatic cancer.
Says lead author in the report, Jeanine M. Genkinger, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Georgetown University’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center: “This is one of the largest studies ever to look at dietary factors in relation to pancreatic cancer risk.”
So how much drinking are we talking here?
One “drink” translates to 4 ounces of wine (half a cup), 12 ounces of beer, and 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled liquor (that’s a tiny amount).
Study subjects who had 30 or more grams a day of alcohol (about two drinks), had a slightly increased risk of pancreatic malignancy, compared to those who did not drink.
This association becomes apparent for women at two-plus drinks a day, and for men, at three-plus drinks per day.
It didn’t make any difference what kind of liquor was consumed; it was the amount that was the key factor.
Drinking isn’t the strongest risk factor, however, for pancreatic cancer. The strongest known lifestyle risk factor for this disease is that of smoking.
Every year in the U.S., there are about 19,000 newly diagnosed cases of this dreadful sickness.
The survival rate after five years is only 4 percent. This is primarily because by the time the disease is discovered, it has spread.
And how many people in the U.S. every year die from pancreatic malignancy? About 34,000.
A reliable screening tool for this disease has not been developed. It is very difficult to detect.
Right now, what you can do about pancreatic cancer is to quit smoking, limit drinking, and practice weight management along with exercise.
Johns Hopkins Health Alerts endorses exercise and weight control as ways to lower the risk of pancreatic cancer, which was what killed actor Michael Landon, who was a heavy smoker. Eating charred meat is also considered a risk factor.