WebMD Health News
Louise Chang, MD
May 15, 2007 -- Moderate drinking may make kidney cancer less likely.
That's according to a new study by Jung Eun Lee, ScD, and colleagues. Lee
works in the medicine department at Harvard Medical School and Boston's Brigham
and Women's Hospital.
Lee's team pooled data from 12 prospective studies on more than 530,000
women and more than 229,000 men.
When the studies started, participants had never been diagnosed with cancer,
except for nonmelanoma skin cancer. They completed surveys about their alcohol
consumption, eating habits, smoking, weight, and other factors.
Participants were followed for seven to 20 years. A total of 1,430
participants were diagnosed with kidney cancer during that time. Specifically,
they were found to have renal cell cancer, the most common type of kidney
cancer in adults.
Compared to teetotalers, people who reported moderate alcohol consumption
were 28% less likely to be diagnosed with kidney cancer.
Moderate drinkers consumed at least 15 grams of alcohol per day. That's a
little more than one daily drink. Heavy drinkers weren't included in the
The researchers considered participants' weight and history of smoking. But
they didn't have information on all possible risk factors, including
participants' family history of cancer.
Lee's team doesn't recommend that anyone drink to prevent kidney cancer.
The researchers note that alcohol has been linked to increased risk of other
cancers, including oral cancer, breast cancer, liver cancer, and esophageal
cancer (cancer of the esophagus).
"Maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding smoking are the principle
known means to reduce the risk of renal cancer that should be encouraged, and
doing so may also reduce the risk of many other cancers as well as
cardiovascular disease," write Lee and colleagues.
Their study appears in the Journal of the National Cancer
SOURCES: Lee, J. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, May 16,
2007; vol 99: pp 801-810. National Cancer Institute: "What You Need to
Know About Kidney Cancer." News release, Journal of the National Cancer
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