According to a new report, people who drink and are overweight are at higher risk for two of the most common types of oesophageal cancer.
In the report compiled by experts at the AICR and the World Cancer Research Fund, it was revealed that one third - that's about 5,600 per year - of oesophageal cancer cases in the United States could be prevented if people didn't drink and maintained a healthy weight.
“These findings add to the evidence that lifestyle plays a powerful role in cancer risk,” said Alice Bender, head of nutrition at the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR). Read on for the full scoop.
Previous research has linked drinking and obesity to cancer
This report isn’t the first to link drinking and obesity
is now linked to 11 types of cancer and alcohol links to six,” said Bender in a news release.
“We want individuals to know you can take important lifestyle steps to reduce risk for many kinds of cancer,” she added.
Report reveals that drinking and obesity
boost risk of esophageal cancer
To draw up their conclusions, experts reviewed 46 studies that involved over 15 million adults in total, including 31,000 who developed oesophageal cancer.
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Their analysis showed that for every 5-point increase in body mass index (BMI), there was a 48% boosted risk of oesophageal adenocarcinoma. This type of oesophageal cancer generally develops in the lower oesophagus. Statistics show that approximately 60% of oesophageal cancer cases in the US are adenocarcinomas.
Dr Anthony Starpoli, who helps direct oesophageal endotherapy at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, wasn’t surprised by these new findings. “The tremendous rise in oesophageal cancer has paralleled the obesity epidemic,” he said. “This study offers support to this observation.”
The researchers then found that the risk of oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma increased by 25% for every 10 g of alcohol consumed per day. This amount of alcohol is about equivalent to one glass of wine or beer.
Squamous cell oesophageal cancer develops from the cells that line the oesophagus and accounts for one-third of oesophageal cancers in the US. Worldwide, it’s the most common type of oesophageal cancer.
“Alcohol could have a direct carcinogenic effect, or it could be that reflux being worsened by alcohol leads to more damage to the lining or inner wall of the esophagus,” said Dr Starpoli. A body of research shows that chronic acid reflux is a big risk factor for oesophageal cancer.
“And of course, the empty calories from alcohol contribute to obesity,” he added.
Reduce your risk of oesophageal cancer by limiting alcohol and eating more whole foods
Bender assured that it’s possible to cut your risk of oesophageal cancer. She offered some suggestions on how to do it...
“Making smart choices like limiting alcoholic drinks, eating more vegetables, beans and other plant foods, and boosting your activity with walking breaks are all ways to get on a path to lower cancer risk.”