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Is there a link between alcohol and lung cancer?

Experts have been wondering if there is a link between alcohol and lung cancer since the 1980s. If you already feel skeptical that they could find one, you are not alone. However, multiple studies have now suggested that such a link does exist, that drinking alcohol may increase one's odds of getting lung cancer.

It is worth noting that even official researchers are cautious about proclaiming the link. For instance, the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund hired a number of experts to study it, and they would only go so far as saying that there was "possibly" a correlation.

Perhaps the most groundbreaking study was the Japan-Hawaii Cancer Study. It controlled for cigarette smoking -- an activity often done while drinking, which is why experts were never sure if it was the alcohol increasing the lung cancer risk -- and tracked the amount of alcohol individuals drank for a month. Those who drank 40 or more ounces of alcohol per month had lung cancer 1.9 times as often as those who did not drink. That's nearly twice the risk.

The study went on to look at lung cancer rates for those who smoked, and it found similar results. Those who smoked and drank had a higher risk. This suggests that the alcohol itself could play a part, and not just the smoking.

One important takeaway from all of this is that researchers still do not know everything about cancer and the potential risk factors. They still find surprising results and correlations where many did not expect to find them. If you are diagnosed with lung cancer and you think it was due to exposure to dangerous chemicals or other substances, be sure you know what legal options you have.

Source: AACR, "Alcohol Consumption and Lung Cancer," Elisa V. Bandera, Jo L. Freudenheim and John E. Vena, accessed June 07, 2018

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