There may be an association between alcohol intake and colorectal cancer. However, different types of alcohol, and effect on colon subsites have not been investigated satisfactorily.
In this study, researchers from Denmark investigated the relationship between amount and type of alcohol, and the risk of colon and rectal cancer.
The research team performed a population-based cohort study in Copenhagen.
They made a baseline assessment of weekly intake of beer, wine, and spirits, smoking habits, body mass index, educational level, and leisure time physical activity.
|People who had more than 41 drinks a week had a relative risk of rectal cancer of 2.2.|
The study included 15,491 men and 13,641 women, aged 23 to 95 years.
The team identified incident cases of colorectal cancer from the nationwide Danish Cancer Register.
During a mean follow up of 14.7 years, the researchers observed 411 colon cancers and 202 rectal cancers.
They identified a dose-response relationship between alcohol and rectal cancer.
The team found that individuals who had more than 41 drinks a week had a relative risk of rectal cancer of 2.2, compared with non-drinkers.
Furthermore, those who had more than 14 drinks of beer and spirits a week - but not wine - had a risk of 3.5 of rectal cancer, when compared with non-drinkers.
Those who drank the same amount of alcohol, of which more than 30% was wine, had a risk of 1.8 of rectal cancer.
The team found no relation between alcohol and colon cancer when investigating the effects of total alcohol, beer, wine, and spirits, and the percentage of wine in the total alcohol intake.
Dr Pedersen's team concluded, "Alcohol intake is associated with a significantly increased risk of rectal cancer, but the risk seems to be reduced when wine is included in the alcohol intake".