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Heavy drinking may up lung cancer risk

Oct. 26, 2011 at 12:58 AM   |   Comments

OAKLAND, Calif., Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Heavy drinking may be linked to a greater risk of lung cancer, but being overweight and consuming black tea and fruit may lower risk, U.S. researchers say.

Dr. Stanton Siu of Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif., said black tea consumption was shown to reduce lung cancer risk in non-smoking women, while higher body mass index and increased fruit consumption were associated with a lower risk of lung cancer in both men and women.

"Heavy drinking has multiple harmful effects, including cardiovascular complications and increased risk for lung cancer," Siu said in a statement. "We did not see a relationship between moderate drinking and lung cancer development. So it appears probable that most middle-aged and older moderate drinkers have coronary artery protection and no increased risk of lung cancer risk."

Siu and colleagues studied 126,293 people who provided baseline data from 1978 to1985 and tracked them until 2008 to determine their risk for developing lung cancer in relation to cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, gender, ethnicity, body mass index and level of education.

Of the 1,852 people who developed lung cancer during the study period, results showed cigarette smoking remained a strong predictor of all types of lung cancer; but heavy alcohol consumption -- more than three alcoholic drinks per day -- also increased lung cancer risk, with a slightly higher risk related to heavy beer consumption as opposed to wine and liquor.

The findings were presented at CHEST, the 77th annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians in Honolulu.

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