“Don’t Drink Alone” Gets New Meaning
In what may be bad news for bars and pubs, an European research group has found that people drinking alcohol out side of meals have a significantly higher risk of cancer in the mouth and neck than do those taking their libations with food.1 Luigino Dal Maso and his colleagues studied the drinking patterns of 1,500 patients from four cancer studies2 and another 3,500 adults who had never had cancer.
After the researchers accounted for the amount of alcohol consumed, they found that individuals who downed a significant share of their alcohol outside of meals3 faced at least a 50 to 80 percent risk of cancer in the oral cavity, pharynx, and esophagus, when compared with people who drank only at meals. Consuming alcohol without food also increased by at least 20 percent the likelihood of laryngeal4 cancer. “Roughly 95 percent of cancers at these four sites5 traced to smoking or drinking6 by the study volunteers,” Dal Maso says. The discouraging news, his team reports, is that drinking with meals didn’t eliminate cancer risk at any of the sites.
For their new analyst, the European scientists divided people in the study into four groups, based on how many drinks they reported having in an average week7. The lowest-intake group included people who averaged up to8 20 drinks a week. The highest group reported downing at least 56 servings of alcohol weekly for an average of eight or more per day.9 Cancer risks for the mouth and neck sites rose steadily with consumption even for people who reported drinking only with meals. For instance, compared with people in the lowestconsumption group, participants who. drank 21 to 34 alcohol servings a week at least doubled their cancer risk for all sites other than the larynx10. If people in these consumption groups took some of those drinks outside meals, those in the higher consumption group at least quadrupled their risk for oral cavity and esophageal cancers.
People in the highest-consumption group who drank only with meals had 10 times the risk of oral cancer, 7 times the risk of pharyngeal cancer, and 16 times the risk of esophageal cancer compared with those who averaged 20 or fewer drinks a week with meals. In contrast, laryngeal cancer risk in the high-intake, with-meals-only group11 was only triple that12 in the low-intake consumers who drank with meals.
“Alcohol can inflame tissues. Over time, that inflammation can trigger cancer.” Dal Maso says. He suspects that food reduced cancer risk either by partially coating digestive-tract tissues or by scrubbing alcohol of those tissues. He speculates that the reason laryngeal risks were dramatically lower for all study participants traces to the tissue’s lower exposure to alcohol.
1. Approximately how many drinks do the lowest-intake group average per day?
A 3 drinks.
B 8 drinks.
C 20 drinks.
D 56 drinks.
2. Which cancer risk is the lowest among all the four kinds of cancer mentioned in the passage?
A Oral cancer.
B Laryngeal cancer.
C Pharyngeal cancer.
D Esophageul cancer.
3. According to the last paragraph, tissue’s lower exposure to alcohol
A explains why inflammation triggers cancer.
B accounts for why food can coat digestive-tract tissues.
C is the reason why food can scrub alcohol off tissues.
D reduces the risk of laryngeal cancer.
4. Researchers have found that the risk of cancer in the mouth and neck is higher with people
A who drink alcohol outside of meals.
B who drink alcohol at meals.
C who never drink alcohol.
D who drink alcohol at bars and pubs.
5. Which of the following is NOT the conclusion made By the researchers about “drinking with meals”?
A It has a lower risk of cancer than drinking without food.
B It may also be a cause of cancer.
C It increases by 20 percent the possibility of cancer in all sites.
D It does not eliminate cancer risk ut any of the sites.