Drinking Alcohol and Leukemia
There is medical consensus that alcohol is not a risk factor for leukemia (leukaemia). Based on their analyses of the extensive scientific medical research available, the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and other organizations have concluded that drinking alcohol is not a risk factor for leukemia.
More specifically, alcohol consumption is not a risk factor for any of the various forms of leukemia:
- Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) The most common form of leukemia in young children but also affects adults, especially those age 65 and older.
- Acute myleoid leukemia (AML) This form of leukemia occurs most often in adults. The five-year survival rate is 40%,
- B-cell leukemia (B-PLL) This is a more aggressive, but still treatable, form of leukemia that has a poor prognosis.
- Childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia This is the most common type of childhood cancer.
- Childhood myeloid leukemia This is the second most common form of leukemia in children.
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) This incurable leukemia occurs most often among those over age 55.
- Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) This form of leukemia is rare among children. It occurs with about equal frequency among male and female adults.
- Eosinophilic leukemia This form of leukemia is rare.
- Hairy cell leukemia (HCL) About 80% of HCL victims are adult men. Although incurable, the ten year survival rate of this slow growing leukemia is very high.
- Plasma cell leukemia (PCL) This is a rare leukemia largely found among adult males.
- T-cell prolymphocytic leukemia (T-PLL) This is a very rare and aggressive leukemia affecting adults. The median survival is measured in months.
Leukemia is the most common type of cancer in children and the most common form of the disease in young people is acute lymphoblastic leukemia (also called acute lymphocytic leukemia, and acute lymphoid leukemia). However, leukemia also occurs among adults and is not only a "childhood disease."
Drinking alcohol in moderation is not a risk factor for developing leukemia. On the other hand, the moderate consumption of alcohol is associated with better health and greater longevity than is either abstaining from alcohol or drinking abusively.
Drinking in moderation has been described by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) as a man consuming four drinks on any day with an average of 14 drinks per week. For women, it is consuming three drinks in any one day with an average of seven drinks per week.
A standard alcoholic drink is:
- A 12-ounce can or bottle of regular beer
- A 5-ounce glass of dinner wine
- A shot (one and one-half ounces) of 80 proof liquor or spirits such as vodka, tequila, or rum either straight or in a mixed drink.
Standard drinks contain equivalent amounts of alcohol. To a breathalyzer, they're all the same.
There is no evidence that any form of alcohol (beer, wine, or liquor - distilled spirits) confers greater health benefits than another.
Note: This website is informational only. It does not provide any health recommendations or advice and none should be inferred.
Readings on Alcohol and Leukemia Risk:
- (note: listing does not imply endorsement)
- Brown, L.M., et al. Alcohol consumption and risk of leukemia, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. Leukemia Research, 1992, 169(10), 979-984.
- Gorini, G., et al. Alcohol consumption and risk of leukemia: a multicenter case-control study. Leukemia Research, 2007, 31(3), 379-386.
- Infante-Rivard, Claire and El-Zein, Mariam. Parental alcohol consumption and childhood cancers: a review. Journal of Toxicology and Environment, Part B, 2007, 10(1 & 2), 101-129.
- Pogoda, J.M., et al. Alcohol consumption and risk of adult-onset acute myeloid leukemia. Leukemia Research, 2004, 28(9), 927-931.
- Rauscher, G.H., et al. Alcohol intake and incidence of de novo adult acute leukemia. Leukemia Research, 2004, 28(12), 1263-1265.
- Shu, X-O., et al. Parental alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, and risk of infant leukemia: a Children's Cancer Group study. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 1996, 88(1), 24.
- Leukemia Risk Factors. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/leukemia/page4 http://www.cancer.org/ http://www.leukemia-lymphoma.org/all_page?item_id=7026 http://www.leukemia-lymphoma.org/all_page?item_id=7049 http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/ALLomchildren http://www.cancer.net/patient/Cancer+Types/Leukemia+-+Acute+Lymphocytic+ALL http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_4_2X_What _Are_the_Risk_Factors_for_Acute_Lymphocytic_Leukemia.asp?sitearea= http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/adultaml/patient http://www/leukemia-lymphoma.org/all_page?item_id=8459 http://www.cancer.net/patient/Cancer+Types/Leukemia+_+Acute+Myeloma+_+AML http://www.cancer.org/docroot/cri/content/cri_2_4_2x_What_are_the_risk_factors_for_Acute_Myeloid_Leukemia_AML.asp
- B-cell Leukemia Risk Factors. http://www.cancer.net/patient/Cancer+Types/Leukemia+-+B-Cell?sectionTitle=Risk%20Factors
- Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. http://www.cancer.net/patient/Cancer+Types/Leukemia+-+Acute+Lymphoblastic+-+ALL+-+Childhood?sectionTitle=Risk%20Factors
- Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukemia. http://www.cancer.net/patient/Cancer+Types/Leukemia+-+Acute+Myeloid+-+AML+-+Childhood?sectionTitle=Risk%20Factors
- Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. http://www.leukemia-lymphoma.org/all_page?item_id=7049 http://www.leukemia-lymphoma.org/all_page?item_id=8501#_Causes
- Eosinophilic Leukemia Risk Factors. http://www.cancer.net/patient/Cancer+Types/Leukemia+-+Eosinophilic http://www.cancer.net/patient/Cancer+Types/Leukemia+-+Eosinophilic?sectionTitle=Risk%20Factors
- Hairy Cell Leukemia Risk Factors. http://www.leukemia-lymphoma.org/all_page?item_id=8507
- Plasma Cell Leukemia. http://atlasgeneticsoncology.org/Anomalies/PlasmCel.html http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S014521260800297X
- T-Cell Leukemia Risk Factors. http://www.cancer.net/patient/Cancer+Types/Leukemia+-+T-Cell?sectionTitle=Risk%20Factors
- Leukemia. http://www.cancer.net/patient/Cancer+Types/Leukemia+-+Acute+Lymphoblastic+-+ALL+-+Childhood
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