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Postmenopausal Alcohol May Increase Cancer Risk

beersA new study suggests postmenopausal women consuming two or more alcoholic beverages a day may double their risk of endometrial cancer.

“This is the first prospective study to report a significant association between alcohol and endometrial cancer,” says Veronica Wendy Setiawan, assistant professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

“Previous studies have shown that alcohol consumption has been associated with higher levels of estrogens in postmenopausal women, which could be the mechanism by which daily alcohol intake increases one’s risk of endometrial cancer.”

The study also found that the association of alcohol intake and endometrial cancer is stronger among lean women than among overweight or obese postmenopausal women.

“Our data suggest that lean women may be more sensitive to modest elevations in hormone levels resulting from alcohol drinking than obese women who already have high levels of estrogen and therefore mask alcohol as an independent risk factor,” concludes Setiawan.

The study will appear in the International Journal of Cancer, and is now available online.

According to the National Cancer Institute, endometrial cancer is the most common cancer of the female reproductive system. It accounts for approximately six percent of all cancers in women.

“It’s important for women, especially postmenopausal women, to know and understand the consequences of high alcohol consumption. It does not affect just the liver, but alcohol has been associated with breast cancer and now endometrial cancer,” continues Setiawan.

Researchers drew upon data from the Multiethnic Cohort Study (MEC), an epidemiological study of more than 215,000 people from Los Angeles and Hawaii created in 1993 by Brian Henderson, M.D., dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and Laurence Kolonel, M.D., Ph.D. of the University of Hawaii.

The study followed 41,574 postmenopausal African-American, Japanese-American, Latina, Native-Hawaiian and White women in Los Angeles and Hawaii for an average of 8 years. Data on alcohol intake and endometrial cancer risk factors were obtained from a baseline questionnaire.

“This discovery is important as it suggests that changes to certain lifestyle choices may potentially help alter risk of the disease,“ says Henderson, the paper’s senior author.

However, the authors caution that the data is preliminary and more studies with sufficient numbers of heavy drinkers are needed to corroborate the findings.

The National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute provided funding for the study.

Source: University of Southern California Health Sciences

Postmenopausal Alcohol May Increase Cancer Risk

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Postmenopausal Alcohol May Increase Cancer Risk. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 24, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2007/09/10/postmenopausal-alcohol-may-increase-ca-risk/1256.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.