Drinking Alcohol and Stomach Cancer Risk
The moderate consumption of alcohol is not a risk factor for developing stomach or gastric cancer. This is the conclusion of the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Cancer Research UK, the Mayo Clinic, and other medical organizations.
Over 10,000 people die each year in the U.S. from stomach or gastric cancer. The cause of most stomach cancer appears to be infection from Helicobacter pylori (H pylori). There is strong evidence that alcohol consumption fights H pylori infection.1 However, most people who have this germ in their stomachs never develop cancer.
In addition to H pylori infection, there are a number of risk factors associated with gastric cancer. Having risk factors increases the chances of developing cancer, but many victims have no risk factors.
Risk factors for stomach cancer include:
- Having a lymphoma of the stomach known as mucosa- associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma. MALT of the stomach is also caused by infection with H pylori.
- Being male
- Being older (late 60' and older)
- Being an Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic-American or African-American
- Living in China, Japan, southern and eastern Europe, and Central and South America.
- Eating large amounts of cured meats, smoked foods, salted fish, or pickled vegetables.
- Smoking tobacco (doubles the risk of stomach cancer)
- Having stomach surgery
- Having pernicious anemia
- Having type A blood
- Having a family history of stomach cancer
- Having some types of stomach polyps
- Having Menetrier disease (hypertrophic gastropathy)
- Having had Epstein-Barr virus infection (mono or infectious mononucleosis)
- Working in the coal, metal, or rubber industry
Symptoms of stomach cancer include:
- Abdominal pain
- Excessive belching
- Nausea and vomiting
- Vomiting blood
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty swallowing, especially if that difficulty increases over time
- Dark Stools
- Premature abdominal fullness after eating
- Vague abdominal fullness
- Weakness or fatigue
- Unintentional weight loss
- General decline in health
A person experiencing any of these symptoms should consult with a physician.
Drinking alcohol in moderation is not a risk factor for developing stomach 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:
- A 12-ounce can or bottle of regular beer
- A 5-ounce glass of dinner wine
- A shot (one and one-half ounces) of 80 proof liquor or spirits such as vodka, tequila, or rum either straight or in a mixed drink.
Standard drinks contain equivalent amounts of alcohol.
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 does not make health or medical recommendations regarding drinking alcohol and stomach cancer and none should be inferred.
- 1. Alcohol and H. pylori Infection. http://www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/InTheNews/MedicalReports/GeneralHealth/Alcohol-and-H-pylori.html
- Gastric Cancer - Risk Factors http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000223.htm
- Stomach Cancer - Risk Factors http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/stomach/page4
- Risk Factors for Stomach Cancer http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_4_2X_What_are_the_risk_factors_for_stomach_cancer_40.asp?rnav=cri
- Stomach Cancer Risk Factors http://www.cancer.net/patient/Cancer+Types/Stomach+Cancer?sectionTitle=Risk%20Factors
- Stomach Cancer Risk Factors http://www.mdanderson.org/patient-and-cancer-information/cancer-information/cancer-types/stomach-cancer/index.html
- Stomach Cancer Risk Factors http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stomach-cancer/DS00301/DSECTION=risk%2Dfactors
- Stomach Cancer Risk Factors & Prevention http://www.mskcc.org/mskcc/html/5335.cfm
- Stomach Cancer Risk Factors http://www.roswellpark.org/cancer/stomach/about/risk-factors
- Stomach Cancer Causes & Risk Factors http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec09/ch131/ch131e.html
- Stomach Cancer Risk Factors http://www.cancercenter.com/stomach-cancer/stomach-cancer-risk-factors.cfm
- Stomach Cancer Risk Factors http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/types/stomach/riskfactors/#sourcec
- Risk Factors for Stomach Cancer http://www.mbhs.org/healthgate/GetHGContent.aspx?token=9c315661-83b7-472d-a7ab-bc8582171f86&chunkiid=32792
Readings on Drinking Alcohol and Stomach or Gastric Cancer Risk:
- Agudo, A., et al. Consumption of alcohol, coffee, and tobacco, and gastric cancer in Spain. Cancer Causes & Control, 1992, 3(2), 137-143.
- Alcohol and stomach cancer in northern Italy. Nutritional Research Newsletter, 1994, 57(64).
- Barstad, T., et al. Intake of wine, beer and spirits and risk of gastric cancer. European Journal of Cancer Prevention, 2005, 14(3), 239-243.
- D'Avanzo, B., et al. Alcohol consumption and risk of gastric cancer. Nutrition and Cancer, 1994, 22(1), 57-64.
- De Stefani, E., et al. Tobacco smoking and alcohol drinking as risk factors for stomach cancer: A case-control study in Uruguay. Cancer Causes and Control, 1998, 9(3), 321-329.
- Franceschi, S., and La Vecchia, C. Alcohol and the risk of cancers of the stomach and colon-rectum. Digestive Diseases, 1994, 12(5), 276-289.
- Freedman, N.D., et al. A prospective study of tobacco, alcohol, and the risk of esophageal and gastric cancer subtypes. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2007, 165(12), 1424-1433.
- Hansson, L.E., et al. Tobacco, alcohol and the risk of gastric cancer: a population-based case-control study in Sweden. International Journal of Cancer, 1994, 57(1), 26-31.
- Hoshiyama,Y., and Sasaba, T. A case-control study of stomach cancer and its relation to diet, cigarettes, and alcohol consumption in Saitama Prefecture, Japan. Cancer Causes & Control, 1992, 3(5), 441-448.
- Ji, B.T., et al. The influence of cigarette smoking, alcohol, and green tea consumption on the risk of carcinoma of the cardia and distal stomach in Shanghai, China. Cancer, 1996, 77(12), 3449-2457.
- Lagergren, J., et al. The role of tobacco, snuff and alcohol use in the aetiology of cancer of the oesophagus and gastric cardia. International Journal of Cancer, 2000, 85(3), 340-346.
- Larsson, S.C., et al. Alcoholic beverage consumption and gastric cancer risk: a prospective population-based study in women. International Journal of Cancer, 2007, 120(2), 373-377.
- Lopez-Carrillo, L., et al. Alcohol consumption and gastric cancer in Mexico. Cadernos de Saude Publica, 1998, 14, Suppl. 3.
- Lucenteforte, E., et al. Food groups and alcoholic beverages and the risk of stomach cancer. Nutrition and Cancer, 2008, 60(5), 577-584.
- Nomura, A., et al. A prospective study of stomach cancer and its relation to diet, cigarettes, and alcohol consumption. Cancer Research, 1990, 50(3), 627-631.
- Paunio, M., et al. Association of alcohol consumption and Helicobacter pylori infection in young adulthood and early middle age among patients with gastric complaints. European Journal of Epidemiology, 1994, 10(2), 205-209.
- Sasazuki, S., et al. Cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption and subsequent gastric cancer risk by subsite and histologic type. International Journal of Cancer, 2002, 101(6), 560-566.
- Shimazu, T., et al. Alcohol drinking and gastric cancer risk. Japanese Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2008, 38(1), 8-25.
- Sjodahl, K., et al. Smoking and alcohol drinking in relation to risk of gastric cancer: a population-based, prospective cohort study. International Journal of Cancer, 2007, 120(1), 128-132.
- Steevens, J., et al. Alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking and risk of subtypes of oesophageal and gastric cancer: a prospective cohort study. Gut, 2010, 59(1), 39-48.
- Sung, N.Y., et al. Smoking, alcohol and gastric cancer risk in Korean men: the National Health Insurance Corporation Study. British Journal of Cancer, 2007, 97(5), 700-704.
- Tominaga, K., et al. A case-control study of stomach cancer and its genesis in relation to alcohol consumption, smoking, and familial cancer history. Japanese Journal of Cancer Research: Gann., 1991, 82(9), 974-998.
- Ye, W., et al. Tobacco, alcohol and the risk of gastric cancer by sub-type and histologic type. International Journal of Cancer, 1999, 83(2), 223-229.
- Yokoyama, A. Alcohol and risk of cancer in the oropharyngolarynx, esophagus, and stomach. Iryo, 2006, 60(6), 357-364.
- Zaridze, D., et al. Alcohol consumption, smoking and risk of gastric cancer: case-control study from Moscow, Russia. Cancer Causes and Control, 2000, 11(4), 363-371.
- Zhang, F., et al. Genetic polymorphisms in alcohol metabolism, alcohol intake and the risk of stomach cancer in Warsaw, Poland. International Journal of Cancer, 2007, 121(9), 2060-2064.
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