Alcohol intake may increase the risk of developing nonmelanoma skin cancers, an analysis of existing evidence suggests.
To date, studies on the association between alcohol and nonmelanoma skin cancer have produced conflicting or inconclusive findings. However, a new analysis of 13 eligible case-control and cohort studies, involving 95,241 cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer, has found that higher alcohol intake is significantly associated with an increased risk for both basal cell carcinoma and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, in a dose-dependent manner. For every 10g increase in alcohol intake per day, the risk of basal cell carcinoma increased by 7 per cent and the risk of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma increased by 11 per cent.
Presenting the findings in the British Journal of Dermatology , the authors say the results should be interpreted with caution due to potential residual confounding. “Nonetheless,” they say, “because alcohol drinking is a prevalent and modifiable behaviour, it could serve as an important public health target to reduce the global health burden of nonmelanoma skin cancers.”
According to World Health Organization figures, between 2 and 3 million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancers are diagnosed worldwide each year, and rates are on the increase.