06 May 2014 In Cancer

 

 

 

The Cancer Council Australia (CCA) Alcohol Working Group has prepared a position statement on alcohol use and cancer. The statement has been reviewed by external experts and endorsed by the CCA Board. Alcohol use is a cause of cancer. Any level of alcohol consumption increases the risk of developing an alcohol-related cancer; the level of risk increases in line with the level of consumption. It is estimated that 5070 cases of cancer (or 5% of all cancers) are attributable to long-term chronic use of alcohol each year in Australia. Together, smoking and alcohol have a synergistic effect on cancer risk, meaning the combined effects of use are significantly greater than the sum of individual risks. Alcohol use may contribute to weight (fat) gain, and greater body fatness is a convincing cause of cancers of the oesophagus, pancreas, bowel, endometrium, kidney and breast (in postmenopausal women). The existing evidence does not justify the promotion of alcohol use to prevent coronary heart disease, as the previously reported role of alcohol in reducing heart disease risk in light-to-moderate drinkers appears to have been overestimated. CCA recommends that to reduce their risk of cancer, people limit their consumption of alcohol, or better still avoid alcohol altogether. For individuals who choose to drink alcohol, CCA recommends that they drink only within the National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines for alcohol consumption.

 

 

 

06 May 2014 In Cancer

 

 

 

Colorectal cancer is a major cause of cancer mortality and is considered to be largely attributable to inappropriate lifestyle and behavior patterns. The purpose of this review was to undertake a comparison of the strength of the associations between known and putative risk factors for colorectal cancer by conducting 10 independent meta-analyses of prospective cohort studies. Studies published between 1966 and January 2008 were identified through EMBASE and MEDLINE, using a combined text word and MESH heading search strategy. Studies were eligible if they reported estimates of the relative risk for colorectal cancer with any of the following: alcohol, smoking, diabetes, physical activity, meat, fish, poultry, fruits and vegetables. Studies were excluded if the estimates were not adjusted at least for age. Overall, data from 103 cohort studies were included. The risk of colorectal cancer was significantly associated with alcohol: individuals consuming the most alcohol had 60% greater risk of colorectal cancer compared with non- or light drinkers (relative risk 1.56, 95% CI 1.42-1.70). Smoking, diabetes, obesity and high meat intakes were each associated with a significant 20% increased risk of colorectal cancer (compared with individuals in the lowest categories for each) with little evidence of between-study heterogeneity or publication bias. Physical activity was protective against colorectal cancer. Public-health strategies that promote modest alcohol consumption, smoking cessation, weight loss, increased physical activity and moderate consumption of red and processed meat are likely to have significant benefits at the population level for reducing the incidence of colorectal cancer.

 

 

 

14 November 2012 In Drinking & Driving

The objective of this paper was to determine separately the lifetime risk of drinking alcohol for chronic disease and acute injury outcomes as a basis for setting general population drinking guidelines for Australia. Relative risk data for different levels of average consumption of alcohol were combined with age, sex, and disease-specific risks of dying from an alcohol-attributable chronic disease. For injury, combinations of the number of drinks per occasion and frequency of drinking occasions were combined to model lifetime risk of death for different drinking pattern scenarios. A lifetime risk of injury death of 1 in 100 is reached for consumption levels of about three drinks daily per week for women, and three drinks five times a week for men. For chronic disease death, lifetime risk increases by about 10% with each 10-gram (one drink) increase in daily average alcohol consumption, although risks are higher for women than men, particularly at higher average consumption levels. Lifetime risks for injury and chronic disease combine to overall risk of alcohol-attributable mortality. In terms of guidelines, if a lifetime risk standard of 1 in 100 is set, then the implications of the analysis presented here are that both men and women should not exceed a volume of two drinks a day for chronic disease mortality, and for occasional drinking three or four drinks seem tolerable.

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