Drinking Alcohol May Reduce Risk of Lymphatic Cancer

Drinking alcohol may reduce the risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma by over one-quarter (27%), according to researchers at the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health. In addition, alcohol's protective effect varies by form or subtype of non-Hodgkin‘s lymphoma. For example, drinkers were about half as likely as non-drinkers to develop Burkitt's lymphoma.

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is the sixth most common cancer in the US. It is a cancer of lymphoid tissue, which is part of the body's lymphatic system. Because lymphatic tissue is found throughout the body, lymphomas can develop almost anywhere.

Federal medical researchers analyzed data from nine international studies comprising 6,492 patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphnoma (NHL) and 8,683 healthy people without the disease. The studies were conducted in the U.S., Britain, Sweden, and Italy.

The protective effect of alcohol was found to be equally high for beer, wine, and liquor or distilled spirits.


  • Morton, L., et al. Alcohol consumption and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma: A pooled analysis. Lancet Oncology, June 8, 2005.

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