06 May 2014 In Cancer




BACKGROUND: With the exception of breast cancer, little is known about the effect of moderate intakes of alcohol, or of particular types of alcohol, on cancer risk in women.

METHODS: A total of 1,280,296 middle-aged women in the United Kingdom enrolled in the Million Women Study were routinely followed for incident cancer. Cox regression models were used to calculate adjusted relative risks and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for 21 site-specific cancers according to amount and type of alcoholic beverage consumed. All statistical tests were two-sided.

RESULTS: A quarter of the cohort reported drinking no alcohol; 98% of drinkers consumed fewer than 21 drinks per week, with drinkers consuming an average of 10 g alcohol (1 drink) per day. During an average 7.2 years of follow-up per woman 68,775 invasive cancers occurred. Increasing alcohol consumption was associated with increased risks of cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx (increase per 10 g/d = 29%, 95% CI = 14% to 45%, Ptrend < .001), esophagus (22%, 95% CI = 8% to 38%, Ptrend = .002), larynx (44%, 95% CI = 10% to 88%, Ptrend = .008), rectum (10%, 95% CI = 2% to 18%, Ptrend = .02), liver (24%, 95% CI = 2% to 51%, Ptrend = .03), breast (12%, 95% CI = 9% to 14%, Ptrend < .001), and total cancer (6%, 95% CI = 4% to 7%, Ptrend < .001). The trends were similar in women who drank wine exclusively and other consumers of alcohol. For cancers of the upper aerodigestive tract, the alcohol-associated risk was confined to current smokers, with little or no effect of alcohol among never and past smokers (P(heterogeneity) < .001). Increasing levels of alcohol consumption were associated with a decreased risk of thyroid cancer (Ptrend = .005), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (Ptrend = .001), and renal cell carcinoma (Ptrend = .03).

CONCLUSIONS: Low to moderate alcohol consumption in women increases the risk of certain cancers. For every additional drink regularly consumed per day, the increase in incidence up to age 75 years per 1000 for women in developed countries is estimated to be about 11 for breast cancer, 1 for cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx, 1 for cancer of the rectum, and 0.7 each for cancers of the esophagus, larynx and liver, giving a total excess of about 15 cancers per 1000 women up to age 75.




14 November 2012 In Drinking & Driving

AIMS: The main objective of this article was to compare alcohol and tobacco consumption in the US and the Basque Country (the North of Spain) with particular attention to the association between alcohol and tobacco use. The consistency of findings was considered by analyzing data from two different years. These comparisons may provide a rational basis for exploring the associations between alcohol and cigarette use that are influenced by changes in use prevalences.

METHODS: Two epidemiological samples from the US, obtained in 1992 and 1996, and two from the Basque Country, obtained in the same years, were used. Sampling methodologies were similar. Questionnaires were self-administrated with the help of interviewers, and were used to define ever smokers, ex-smokers, current smokers, heavy smokers, ever drinkers, ex-drinkers, current drinkers and weekly drinkers. The associations between smoking and alcohol drinking were explored through logistic regressions.

RESULTS: The associations between current smoking and current drinking in the general population, and between ever smoking and weekly drinking among current drinkers appear very stable. In 1992 and 1996, US subjects who decided to try alcohol tended to try smoking and vice versa. In US Caucasians (particularly in 1996), heavy smoking was strongly associated with ever drinking among current smokers. In the Basque Country in 1992, there was a significant association between smoking cessation and drinking cessation among ever drinkers who also were ever smokers.

CONCLUSIONS: Our analyses suggest that some associations between alcohol drinking and smoking behaviours are likely to be detected in Western countries where alcohol and nicotine are legal and easily available. On the other hand, other associations may be detected only in certain social contexts. These social contexts make the associations in subpopulations who are vulnerable to addiction, influence the results in the general population. In social contexts that exert considerable social pressure to quit smoking, such as in US Caucasians (particularly in 1996), heavy smoking was strongly associated with ever drinking among current smokers. When a social environment strongly discourages smoking and alcohol initiation (as in the US in 1992 and 1996), subjects who decide to try alcohol tend to try smoking and vice versa. The lack of social stigmatization of smoking and drinking in the Basque Country in 1992 may help to explain the significant association between smoking cessation and drinking cessation among ever drinkers who also were ever smokers.

14 November 2012 In Drinking & Driving

OBJECTIVES: Maternal alcohol use is a leading preventable cause of neurobehavioral and developmental abnormalities in children. This study examines the patterns and average volume of alcohol use among U.S. women of childbearing age in order to identify subgroups of high-risk women for selective intervention.

METHODS: A sample of 188,290 women aged 18-44 years participated in the Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention (CDC)'s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey during the period of 2001-2003. Reported alcohol use patterns and average volume were examined for pregnant and nonpregnant women. Efforts were made to evaluate and characterize women who practiced various levels of binge drinking.

RESULTS: The results showed that approximately 2% of pregnant women and 13% of nonpregnant women in the United States engaged in binge drinking during the period of 2001-2003. Among the estimated average of 6.7 million women of childbearing age overall who engaged in binge drinking during the period, approximately 28.5% women also reported consuming an average of 5 drinks or more on typical drinking days, or about 21.4% women consumed at least 45 drinks on average in a month. Larger proportions of binge drinkers with high usual quantity of consumption were found among women of younger ages (18-24 years) or current smokers.

CONCLUSIONS: Future prevention efforts should include strategies that combine health messages and encourage women of childbearing age, with particular emphasis on women 18-24 years, to avoid alcohol and tobacco use, and take multivitamins and folic acid daily for better pregnancy outcomes. Other efforts must also include broad-based implementation of screening and brief intervention for alcohol misuse in primary and women's health care settings.

14 November 2012 In Drinking & Driving

AIMS: To give an overview of the volume of alcohol consumption, beverage preference, and patterns of drinking among adults (people 15 years and older) in central and eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia) and to compare it to southern and western Europe, Russia and Ukraine.

METHODS: Secondary data analysis. Consumption and preferred beverage type data for the year 2002 were taken from the WHO Global Status Report on Alcohol and the WHO Global Alcohol Database.

RESULTS: Average consumption in central and eastern Europe is high with a relatively large proportion of unrecorded consumption ranging from one litre in Czech Republic and Estonia to 10.5 l in Ukraine. The proportion of heavy alcohol consumption (more than 40 g of pure alcohol per day) among men was the lowest in Bulgaria (25.8%) and the highest in Czech Republic (59.4%). Among women, the lowest proportion of heavy alcohol consumption was registered in Estonia (4.0%) and the highest in Hungary (16.0%). Patterns of drinking are detrimental with a high proportion of binge drinking, especially in the group of countries traditionally drinking vodka. In most countries, beer is now the most prevalent alcoholic beverage.

CONCLUSIONS: Other studies suggest that the population drinking levels found in central and eastern Europe are linked with higher levels of detrimental health outcomes. Known effective and cost-effective programs to reduce levels of risky drinking should, therefore, be implemented, which may, in turn, lead to a reduction of alcohol-attributable burden of disease.

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