A new study in the May 2010 issue of Journal of Epidemiology suggests that alcohol consumption boosts cancer mortality risk.
The study showed that heavy alcohol drinkers were at least four times more likely to die from cancer compared to those who did not drink.
Alcohol is a known risk factor for cancers of the mouth, esophagus, liver, colon and breast, according to the background information in the study report.
In the United States, the National Toxicology Program acknowledges that alcoholic beverages like beer, wine, and spirits are classified as human cancer causing agents or carcinogens.
In the current study, Yi S.W. and colleagues from Kwandong University College of Medicine in Gangneung, Korea examined the association between alcohol consumption and digestive cancer mortality in Korean men and women.
The researchers followed 6291 residents of Kangwha, aged 55 or older, from March 1985 through December 31, 2005 to gather information on alcohol consumption and cancer mortality.
The risks of dying from esophageal cancer and colon cancer were found to be 5.62 times and 4.59 times higher in heavy drinkers compared to those who abstained from drinking any alcohol, respectively.
Higher consumption of alcohol led to higher risk of death from colon cancer and bile duct cancer.
Among women, the risk of dying cancer was higher in alcohol drinkers than abstainers, but the difference was not statistically significant.
The researchers concluded drinking alcohol increases risk of death from esophageal cancer and colon cancer in men.
Jimmy Downs and editing by Rachel Stockton