Alcohol and Pancreatic Cancer

The consensus of medical opinion is that drinking alcohol is not a risk for pancreatic cancer. After analyzing the extensive scientific evidence available, that is the judgment of the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Health, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Cancer Society, Cancer Research UK, the Mayo Clinic, and the Pancreatic Research Center at Johns Hopkins University, among others.

According to the American Cancer society, pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States and has a very low five year survival rate Cancer of the pancreas is about 96% to 100% fatal.

Many of the research studies have been very large. For example, a study of 478,400 participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study who were followed for an average of about nine years, found no association between alcohol consumption and the risk of pancreatic cancer.

Similarly, in a prospective study in the U.S., 136,593 men and women in the were followed for a period of 12 to 16 years. Researchers found that consuming two or more alcoholic drinks (beer, wine or distilled spirits such as whiskey or, gin or vodka) per day did not increase the risk of pancreatic cancer compared to those who did not drink alcohol. That rate of consumption is over twice the recommended limit for women recommended by the U.S. government.

Drinking alcohol is not a risk factor for developing pancreatic cancer. On the other hand, the moderate consumption of alcohol is associated with better health and greater longevity than is either abstaining from alcohol or drinking abusively.

Drinking in moderation has been described by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) as a man consuming four drinks on any day and an average of 14 drinks per week. For women, it is consuming three drinks in any one day and an average of seven drinks per week.

A standard alcoholic drink is:

Standard drinks contain equivalent amounts of alcohol. To a breathalyzer, they're all the same.

There is no evidence that any particular form of alcoholic beverage (beer, wine, or distilled spirits) confers greater health benefits than any other.

Note: This website is informational only. It does not provide health or medical advice and none should be inferred.

Readings on Drinking Alcohol and Pancreatic Cancer risk:

  • (note: listing does not imply endorsement)
  • Genkinger, J.M., et al. Alcohol intake and pancreatic cancer risk: a pooled analysis of fourteen cohort studies. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, 2009, 18(3), 765.
  • Go, V.L. et al. Alcohol and pancreatic cancer. Alcohol, 2005, 35(3), 205-211.
  • Hassan, M.M., et al. Risk factors for pancreatic cancer: case-control study. American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2007, 102(12), 2696-2707.
  • Heinen, M.M., et al. Alcohol consumption and risk of pancreatic cancer in the Netherlands Cohort Study. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2009, 169(10), 1233-1240.
  • Jiao, L., et al. Alcohol Use and Risk of Pancreatic Cancer. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2009, 169(9), 1043-1051.
  • Lin, Y., et al. Risk of pancreatic cancer in relation to alcohol drinking, coffee consumption and medical history: Findings from the Japan collaborative cohort study for evaluation of cancer risk. International Journal of Cancer, 2002, 95(5), 742-746.
  • Michaud, D.S., et al. Coffee and Alcohol Consumption and the Risk of Pancreatic Cancer in Two Prospective U.S. Cohorts. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, 2001, 10, 429-437.
  • Rohrmann, S., et al. Ethanol intake and the risk of pancreatic cancer in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). Cancer Causes & Control, 2009, 20(5), 785-794.
  • Villeneuve, P.J., et al. Alcohol, tobacco and coffee consumption and the risk of pancreatic cancer: results from the Canadian Enhanced Surveillance System case-control project. Canadian Cancer Registries Epidemiology Research Group. European Journal of Cancer Prevention, 2000, 9(1), 49-58.
  • Welsch, T., et al. Update on pancreatic cancer and alcohol-associated risk. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 2006, (21, Suppl. 3), S69-75.
  • Ye, W., et al. Alcohol abuse and the risk of pancreatic cancer. Gut, 2002, 51, 236-239.

References:

  • Pancreatic Cancer: Who's at Risk? http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/pancreas/page4
  • Pancreatic Cancer. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/pancreaticcancer.html
  • Pancreatic cancer risk Factors. http://www.cancer.net/patient/Cancer+Types/Pancreatic+Cancer?sectionTitle=Risk%20Factors
  • What Causes Pancreatic Cancer? http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/ CRI_2_2_2X_What_causes_pancreatic_cancer_Can_it_be_prevented_34.asp?sitearea=
  • Pancreatic Cancer. http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/utilities/atozindex/atoz-pancreatic-cancer
  • Pancreatic Cancer Risk Factors. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pancreatic-cancer/DS00357/DSECTION=risk%2Dfactors
  • What are the Risk Factors for Pancreatic Cancer? http://pathology.jhu.edu/pancreas/BasicRisk.php?area=ba
  • Coffee and Alcohol Do Not Pose a Risk for Pancreatic Cancer http://www.cancer.org/docroot/NWS/content/update/NWS_1_1xU_Coffee_and_Alcohol_Do_Not_Pose_a_Risk_for_Pancreatic_Cancer.asp
  • Ahlgren, J.D. Epidemiology and risk factors in pancreatic cancer. Seminars Oncology, 1996, 23(2), 241-250.
  • Rohrmann, S., et al. Ethanol intake and the risk of pancreatic cancer in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). Cancer Causes & Control, 2009, 20(5), 785-794.
  • Michaud, D.S., Giovannucci, E., Willett, W.C., Colditz, G., Fuchs, C.S.: Coffee and Alcohol Consumption and the Risk of Pancreatic Cancer in Two Prospective U.S. Cohorts. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, 2001, 10, 429-37.

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