Background: The aim of the study was to investigate the association between lifetime consumption of alcoholic beverages and cancer risk.
Methods: Data were collected in a population-based case-control study, conducted in Montreal in the mid-1980s, designed to assess the associations between hundreds of non-occupational and occupational exposures and multiple cancer sites in men. We present results for 13 cancer sites: oesophagus (n = 78), stomach (n = 215), colon (n = 427), rectum (n = 239), liver (n = 28), pancreas (n = 83), lung (n = 700), melanoma (n = 107), prostate (n = 374), bladder (n = 425), kidney (n = 156), Hodgkin's lymphoma (n = 42), and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (n = 190), in comparison to population controls (n = 507). Odds ratios (OR) were estimated for the associations between lifetime consumption of total alcoholic beverages, beer, wine, and/or spirits, altogether and separately, and each cancer site, while carefully adjusting for smoking and other covariates using polytomous logistic regression.
Results: For several cancers (oesophagus, stomach, colon, liver, pancreas, lung, prostate) there was evidence of increased risk among alcohol consumers compared with abstainers and occasional drinkers. For most sites, it was beer and to a lesser extent spirits consumption that drove the excess risks.
Conclusions: Our results support the hypothesis that moderate and high alcohol intake levels over the lifetime might increase cancer risk at several sites.