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PJ Online | News: AAlcohol linked to rectal cancer

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The Pharmaceutical Journal
Vol 270 No 7249 p675
17 May 2003

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Alcohol linked to rectal cancer

Alcohol increases the risk of rectal cancer but has little influence on risk of colon cancer. A population study of 29,000 people in Denmark found that those who drank 14 or more units of beer or spirits a week were 3.5 times more likely to develop rectal cancer than non-drinkers. However, this risk was reduced for people who drank a third or more of the same total alcohol consumption as wine (Gut 2003;52:861).

A second study suggests that patients who have a high calorific diet before a diagnosis of bowel cancer are more likely to survive than those with lower energy intake. Researchers say that the result is surprising given that a calorie-laden diet seems to increase risk of developing bowel cancer in the first place. They suggest that specific forms of cancer with a better chance of survival might be associated with a high energy diet (ibid, p868).

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