Alcohol and leukemia (LEU). Are they linked? In a word, no. There is medical agreement that alcohol is not a risk factor for leukemia (leukaemia). Medical groups have analyzed the research on alcohol and leukemia. They have concluded that drinking alcohol is not a risk factor for leukemia.
Among many others, these groups include the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
- Forms of Leukemia
- Not Only among Children
- Moderate Drinking
I. Forms of Leukemia
Alcohol drinking is not a risk factor for any of the various forms of leukemia.
- Acute lymphocytic LEU (ALL). The most common form of the disease in young children.
- Acute myleoid LEU (AML). This form of the disease occurs most often in adults.
- B-cell LEU (B-PLL). This is a more aggressive form of the disease.
- Childhood acute lymphoblastic LEU. This is the most common childhood cancer.
- Childhood myeloid LEU. This is the second most common leukemia in children.
- Chronic lymphocytic LEU (CLL). This incurable disease occurs most often among those over age 55.
- Chronic myeloid LEU (CML). This form of the disease is rare among children. It occurs with about equally among male and female adults.
- Eosinophilic leukemia. This form of the disease is rare.
- Hairy cell LEU (HCL). About 80% of HCL victims are adult men.
- Plasma cell LEU (PCL). This is a rare disease largely found among adult males.
- T-cell prolymphocytic LEU (T-PLL). This is a very rare and disease affecting adults.
II. Not Only among Children: Alcohol and Leukemia
LEU is the most common type of cancer in children. The most common form of the disease in young people is ALL. But the disease also occurs among adults. So it’s not only a “childhood disease.”
Drinking alcohol in moderation is not a risk factor for the disease. On the other hand, the moderate consumption of alcohol is linked with better health and longer life. That’s compared to either abstaining from alcohol or drinking abusively.
III. Moderate Drinking
A federal agency (NIAAA) has described drinking in moderation. It’s a man having two drinks per day per day. For a woman, it’s having one drink per day.
A standard drink is any of these.
- 12-ounce can or bottle of regular beer
- 5-ounce glass of dinner wine
- One shot (one and one-half ounces) of spirits (liquor).
Standard drinks all have 0.6 of an ounce of pure alcohol.
No form of alcohol gives more health benefits. So beer, wine, and liquor are all equally helpful.
Of possible interest.
IV. Resources: Alcohol and Leukemia
- Abramovitz, M. Leukemia. (Elemen and middle school.)
- Am Cancer Soc. Leukemia.
- Ball, E. and Kagan, A. 100 Questions & Answers about Leukemia.
- Shannon, J. Leukemia Sourcebook.
- Keene, N. Childhood Leukemia.
- Klosterman, L. Leukemia.
- Landier, W. and Hartrum, H. Coping with Childhood Leukemia.
- Liesveld, J. La Leucemia.
- Morrison, C. and Hesdorffer, C. Patients’ Guide to Leukemia.
- Nat Can Inst. What You Need to Know about Leukemia.
- Smith, S. Leukemia.
Scientific Readings on Alcohol and Leukemia Risk
- Brown, L., et al. Alcohol and leukemia. Leukem Res, 169(10), 979-984.
- Gorini, G., et al. Alcohol and leukemi risk. Leukem Res, 31(3), 379-386.
- Infante-Rivard, C. and El-Zein, M. Parental alcohol consumption and childhood cancers: a review. J Tox Environ, Part B, 10(1 & 2), 101-129.
- Pogoda, J., et al. Alcohol consumption and risk of adult-onset acute myeloid leukemia. Leukem Res, 28(9), 927-931.
- Rauscher, G., et al. Alcohol intake and incidence of de novo adult acute leukemia. Leukem Res, 28(12), 1263-1265.
- Shu, X., et al. Parental alcohol consumption and risk of infant leukemia. J Nat Cancer Inst, 88(1), 24.
- This site gives no advice. Please see a doctor about alcohol and leukemia concerns.