One-a-Day Drinkers May Have Lower Kidney Cancer Risks

Kidney cancer risks lowered with moderate alcohol consumption

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Kidney cancer isn't all that common. Only about 1 percent of the general population actually develops the disease. And moderate drinkers may not be in that statistic.

A recent meta-analysis of previous studies has shown that drinking in moderation lowers the risk of renal cell carcinoma - kidney cancer.

"Keep your doctor informed about alcohol consumption."

Jung Eun Lee, of the Department of Food and Nutrition at Sookmyung Women’s University in Korea, led the analysis. Researchers looked at 24 different studies involving information regarding nearly 14,000 people.

Investigators were looking at the association between drinking alcohol and kidney cancer risks.

The known risks for this cancer that's diagnosed in nearly 65,000 Americans a year include smoking, obesity and hypertension (high blood pressure).

Among the studies reviewed, one found that folks who consumed one to two drinks a day had a 28 percent lower risk of kidney cancer than the people who didn't drink.

So the findings of this meta-analysis confirm earlier research.

The benefits were seen for those consuming about one drink a day; drinking more didn't offer greater benefits.

The type of alcohol consumed didn't matter - similar effects were seen in beer, wine and spirits.

While it's not known exactly why alcohol appears to have this protective effect, the authors suggest that the ethanol may improve insulin resistance and vascular (blood vessel) function.

The International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research took a look at this meta-analysis. One reviewer wrote that "all of these studies on alcohol and cancer are observational studies (with self-reported alcohol intake), and it remains unclear how ethanol causes a reduction in the risk of renal cancer."

This research was published in the July issue of the British Journal of Medicine.

No financial information was provided to the public.

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Review Date: 
July 25, 2012
Last Updated:
July 26, 2012