Heavy drinking not linked to pancreatic cancer

But drinking less alcohol from an early age may lead to better survival after diagnosis, say researchers

A Cancer Council Victoria study has failed to show heavy drinkers are more likely to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, but it did find a link between lower use of alcohol from an early age and better survival after a diagnosis. 

The longitudinal study followed 38,000 people for about 20 years, with participants reporting frequency and quantity of alcohol intake over 10-year periods from age 20. 

By 2015, 239 participants had developed pancreatic cancer, of whom 228 had died.

But no link was found between heavy alcohol consumption and pancreatic cancer risk. 

However, higher overall lifetime drinking slightly decreased the odds of surviving pancreatic cancer, which has one of the worst prognoses of all cancers, with five-year survival rates at less than 10%. 

“While we cannot confirm a role for alcohol use in the aetiology of pancreatic cancer, our finding for enhanced

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