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Eur J Cancer. 2010 Jun;46(9):1488-92. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2010.03.035. Epub 2010 May 3.

The impact of alcohol consumption on the risk of cancer among men: a 20-year follow-up study from Finland.

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National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland.



Alcohol consumption is associated with certain cancer types and cancer deaths but there is paucity of information on the relationship between alcohol and total cancer risk. Hence, we examined this association.


We analysed data from a prospective population-based cohort study of 2627 men from Eastern Finland who had no history of cancer at baseline. There were 515 incident cancer cases accrued over 52,540 person years during the 20 years of follow-up.


We observed a linear relationship between alcohol consumption and cancer. Men within the highest quintile of alcohol consumption (>115 g/week) had a 42% increased risk of total cancer compared with those within the lowest quintile (relative risk (RR) 1.42, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.07-1.88; P(trend)=0.03) after adjusting for age, smoking, total energy intake and cardio-respiratory fitness. The results were the same after excluding cancer cases diagnosed during the first 2 years of follow-up. Men who consumed 28.2 g/day of alcohol (median) had a relative risk of 1.22, 95% CI 1.03-1.46; P-value 0.03) compared to those who consumed less.


About 6.7% of the cancer cases in this cohort were due to alcohol consumption. Strategies to reduce cancer burden need to incorporate reduction in alcohol consumption, probably beyond the level currently recommended.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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