Published March 15, 2011
Smoking is one of the biggest risk factors when it comes to pancreatic cancer, and now it appears drinking is too.
A new study shows that people who consume three or more drinks of hard liquor a day have 36 percent higher risk of dying from pancreatic cancer, HealthDay News reported.
“Overall, these findings add to the evidence that heavy alcohol intake is an independent risk factor for pancreatic cancer,” said lead researcher Susan Gapstur, vice president of epidemiology for the American Cancer Society.
Symptoms for pancreatic cancer often do not appear until the cancer is in an advanced stage, making it a very deadly cancer. It’s hard to treat and the five-year survival rate is under 5 percent.
Gapstur said women should limit their alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day and men should drink no more than two drinks per day.
Dr. Alberto J. Montero, an assistant professor of medicine at Sylvestor Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said while the survival rates of breast and colorectal cancers have improved in the past 30 years, the same cannot be said for pancreatic cancer.
“We haven't been able to budge the natural history of pancreatic cancer," Montero said.
Pancreatic cancer is also more resistant to chemotherapy, he said.
The study, which looked at more than 1 million men and women over the course of 24 years, appears in the Archives of Internal Medicine.