26 June 2020 In Cancer

Introduction: Alcohol is a carcinogen for human cancer. This contribution summarizes the relationships between alcohol use and gastrointestinal cancers, and implications for prevention.

Methods: Comparative risk assessment and narrative literature review.

Results: The following gastrointestinal cancer sites were found to be causally impacted by alcohol use: lip and oral cavity, pharynx other than nasopharynx, esophagus, colon and rectum, and liver. Globally, 368,000 deaths (304,000 men and 64,000 women) and more than 10 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) lost (10.1 million; 8.4 million men and 1.6 million women) in 2016 were attributable to alcohol use, making up about 10% of all deaths and DALYs lost due to these cancers, respectively.

There are effective and cost-effective alcohol control policies available to reduce this burden, namely the best buys of increasing taxation, reducing availability, and banning advertisement. In addition, public knowledge about the alcohol-cancer link should be increased. Discussion: There are a number of assumptions underlying these estimates, but overall all of them seem to be conservative.

24 October 2019 In Drinking Patterns

AIM: To present a comparison between the effects on health due to a reduction in binge drinking (BD) and health-related quality of life (HRQoL), as a result of ALERTA ALCOHOL, an intervention aimed at reducing BD in Spanish adolescents.

METHODS: A two-arm cluster randomized controlled trial was conducted with an intervention and a control group, randomized at the school level, following individuals over four months. The study population consisted of Andalusian adolescents aged 15 to 19 years who were enrolled in urban public high schools (n=1247). Participants were assigned randomly to receive the intervention. The main outcomes studied were the number of occasions of BD in the last 30 days, which was directly obtained from the answers given by the adolescents, and HRQoL measured with the EQ-5D-5L questionnaire. The model of estimation was the generalized estimating equations (GEE) approach.

RESULTS: The program showed a BD reduction at the 4-month follow-up, although it was not shown to significantly increase the HRQoL in adolescents who reduced the number of occasions of BD and had received the intervention. However, it was shown that those who would predictably reduce the number of occasions of BD controlled by several sociodemographic variables perceived a higher HRQoL, as did those who had a greater adherence to the program.

CONCLUSIONS: Higher adherence to a web-based computer-tailored intervention to prevent BD in adolescents has a positive effect on decreasing the number of occasions of BD in adolescents as well as on increasing participants' HRQoL, although this second effect is very small, which could be due to the short follow-up time. This fact is quite important and should be assessed extensively to corroborate the results and translate into health policy.

26 February 2019 In Cancer

PURPOSE: Breast cancer (BC) risk prediction allows systematic identification of individuals at highest and lowest risk. We extend the Breast and Ovarian Analysis of Disease Incidence and Carrier Estimation Algorithm (BOADICEA) risk model to incorporate the effects of polygenic risk scores (PRS) and other risk factors (RFs).

METHODS: BOADICEA incorporates the effects of truncating variants in BRCA1, BRCA2, PALB2, CHEK2, and ATM; a PRS based on 313 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) explaining 20% of BC polygenic variance; a residual polygenic component accounting for other genetic/familial effects; known lifestyle/hormonal/reproductive RFs; and mammographic density, while allowing for missing information.

RESULTS: Among all factors considered, the predicted UK BC risk distribution is widest for the PRS, followed by mammographic density. The highest BC risk stratification is achieved when all genetic and lifestyle/hormonal/reproductive/anthropomorphic factors are considered jointly. With all factors, the predicted lifetime risks for women in the UK population vary from 2.8% for the 1st percentile to 30.6% for the 99th percentile, with 14.7% of women predicted to have a lifetime risk of >/=17-<30% (moderate risk according to National Institute for Health and Care Excellence [NICE] guidelines) and 1.1% a lifetime risk of >/=30% (high risk).

CONCLUSION: This comprehensive model should enable high levels of BC risk stratification in the general population and women with family history, and facilitate individualized, informed decision-making on prevention therapies and screening.

22 February 2019 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Prevention aiming at smoking, alcohol consumption, and BMI could potentially bring large gains in life expectancy (LE) and health expectancy measures such as Healthy Life Years (HLY) and Life Expectancy in Good Perceived Health (LEGPH) in the European Union. However, the potential gains might differ by region.

METHODS: A Sullivan life table model was applied for 27 European countries to calculate the impact of alternative scenarios of lifestyle behavior on life and health expectancy. Results were then pooled over countries to present the potential gains in HLY and LEGPH for four European regions.

RESULTS: Simulations show that up to 4 years of extra health expectancy can be gained by getting all countries to the healthiest levels of lifestyle observed in EU countries. This is more than the 2 years to be gained in life expectancy. Generally, Eastern Europe has the lowest LE, HLY, and LEGPH. Even though the largest gains in LEPGH and HLY can also be made in Eastern Europe, the gap in LE, HLY, and LEGPH can only in a small part be closed by changing smoking, alcohol consumption, and BMI.

CONCLUSION: Based on the current data, up to 4 years of good health could be gained by adopting lifestyle as seen in the best-performing countries. Only a part of the lagging health expectancy of Eastern Europe can potentially be solved by improvements in lifestyle involving smoking and BMI. Before it is definitely concluded that lifestyle policy for alcohol use is of relatively little importance compared to smoking or BMI, as our findings suggest, better data should be gathered in all European countries concerning alcohol use and the odds ratios of overconsumption of alcohol.

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