Another meta-analysis

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Another meta-analysis

Another meta-analysis was carried out in an attempt to quantify the effect of moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages on overall cancer incidence in the Western world (Hendriks 2018). The authors wanted to estimate the overall cancer risk of the most common cancer types among men and women at light and moderate levels of alcohol consumption. The following was found:

  • At light to moderate levels (up to 14.5 g alcohol/day), the overall effect of alcohol consumption on the risk of acquiring cancer was slightly lower in both men and women compared to non-drinkers (abstainers).
  • At higher drinking categories (up to 60 g alcohol/day), the relative risk was slightly higher (5% for men and 10% for women) compared to non-drinking.
  • The overall cancer risk only increased substantially when drinking 60 g or more alcohol/day.
  • A gender difference in cancer risk was observed for a given amount of alcohol such that an increase in risk was observed at 22 g/day for women but at 46 g/day for men.
  • Overall, the authors found that the light to moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages was not associated with a higher incidence of the 20 most common cancer types in the Western world in contrast to higher consumption.

Based on their results, Hendriks et al (2018) concluded that moderate drinking had no substantial impact on overall cancer risk. Moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages as such may therefore be considered as a less important lifestyle factor for affecting the overall cancer risk compared to other lifestyle factors, such as smoking and obesity. In contrast, heavy consumption, both regular and binge drinking of more than 60 g alcohol/day, is associated with an increased incidence for most types of cancer investigated in this present meta-analysis.

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