A new study has found that the risk of esophageal cancer is higher in those who drink and who are obese. The study suggest that nearly one-third of esophageal cancer cases could be prevented if people maintained a healthy weight and minimized their drinking.
Alice Bender, head of nutrition at the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), said, “These findings add to the evidence that lifestyle plays a powerful role in cancer risk. Obesity is now linked to 11 types of cancer and alcohol links to six. We want individuals to know you can take important lifestyle steps to reduce risk for many kinds of cancer.”
The researchers reviewed 46 studies involving over 15 million Americans and identified 31,000 cases of esophageal cancer.
The researchers found that with every five extra points on one’s body mass index (BMI), the risk of esophageal cancer rose 48 percent.
Cancer specialist Anthony Starpoli was not surprised by the findings, “The tremendous rise in esophageal cancer has paralleled the obesity epidemic. This study offers support to this observation.”
For every 10 grams of alcohol – one beer or a glass of wine – consumed, the risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma increased 25 percent.
Starpoli added, “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. And, of course, the empty calories from alcohol contribute to obesity.”
The good news is, the risk of esophageal cancer can be reduced by limiting one’s intake of alcohol, eating a healthy diet, and taking the necessary steps to reduce weight.