Alcohol and Pancreatic Cancer: Pancreatic Cancer Risk

Are drinking alcohol and pancreatic cancer related? In a word, no. Alcohol does not increase the risk of cancer of the pancreas.

I. Alcohol and Pancreatic Cancer

Medical opinion is that drinking alcohol is not a risk for cancer of the pancreas. That’s the judgment of these medical groups.

    • National Cancer Institute.
    • National Institute of Health.
    • American Society of Clinical Oncology. Also the
    • American Cancer Society.
    • Cancer Research UK.
    • Pancreatic Research Center at Johns Hopkins U.

And the list goes on and on.

alcohol and pancreatic cancer


Many of the research studies have been very large. For instance, researchers studied 478,400 people. They were in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). Researchers followed them for an average of about nine years. They found no link between drinking alcohol and pancreatic cancer risk.

Doctors in the U.S. followed 136,593 men and women. They did this for 12 to 16 years. They found that having two or more drinks per day did not increase the risk of pancreatic cancer. That was in comparison to those who did not drink any alcohol. Two or more drinks per day is over twice the U.S. government recommended limit for women.

Drinking alcohol is not a risk factor for pancreatic cancer. On the other hand, moderate drinking leads to better health and longer life. That’s in comparison to either abstaining from alcohol or drinking abusively.

II. Moderate Drinking

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has described drinking in moderation. For men it’s having two drinks per day. And for women it’s having one drink daily.

A standard alcoholic drink is a

    • 12-ounce can or bottle of regular beer
    • 5-ounce glass of dinner wine
    • A shot (one and one-half ounces) of spirits (liquor).

Standard drinks have the same amount of pure alcohol. It’s 0.6 of an ounce.

No form of alcoholic beverage has greater health benefits than any other. That is, beer, wine, and spirits are equally good for health. And for long life.

III. Resources 

Books for patients and/or caregivers

    • O’Reilly, E. and Kelvin, J. 100 Questions & Answers about Pancreatic Cancer. Sudbury, MA: Jones.
    • Ahuja, N. and Coleman, J. Johns Hopkins Patients’ Guide to Pancreatic Cancer. Sudbury, MA: Jones.
    • Lustgarten Found. Pancreatic Cancer Res.  Understanding Pancreatic Cancer. A Guide for Patients and Caregivers. Bethpage, NY: The Found.
    • Am Cancer Soc. Quickfacts Pancreatic Cancer. Inde.
    • Le, D. Pancreatic Cancer. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U Press.  

DVD Video

Car Coun. Understanding Pancreatic Cancer. You are not Alone. Sydney: Media One.

Medical Articles