Heavy alcohol consumption increases the risk of developing lung cancer, while higher body mass index and black tea consumption could reduce the risk of deadly disease, finds study.
The researchers studied 126,293 people who provided baseline data from 1978 to1985 and followed them until 2008 to determine their risk for developing lung cancer in relation to cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, gender, ethnicity, BMI, and level of education.
Of the 1,852 people who developed lung cancer during this time, results showed that cigarette smoking remained a strong predictor of all types of lung cancer; however, heavy alcohol consumption (>3 alcoholic drinks per day) also increased lung cancer risk, with a slightly higher risk related to heavy beer consumption as opposed to wine and liquor.
"Heavy drinking has multiple harmful effects, including cardiovascular complications and increased risk for lung cancer, said Stanton Siu, MD, FCCP, Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, California.
"We did not see a relationship between moderate drinking and lung cancer development. So it appears probable that most middle-aged and older moderate drinkers have coronary artery protection and no increased risk of lung cancer risk."
Although researchers found several factors that increased lung cancer risk, other factors were found to be related to reduced risk of the disease.
Dr. Siu and team found an inverse relationship between BMI and lung cancer risk, where higher BMI levels were associated with a lower risk for lung cancer. A similar relationship was seen in those who graduated from college.
"Explanations are not evident, but people with more education probably have a generally healthy lifestyle," said Dr. Siu. "The BMI-cancer association was independent of smoking, and we speculate that nutritional factors may be involved."
The study was presented at CHEST 2011, the 77th annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP).