The study has found that smoking is associated with two forms of esophageal cancer as well as a form of stomach cancer, and that drinking alcohol is strongly linked to one form of esophageal cancer.
Researchers in the Netherlands Cohort Study found a dose-response relationship between alcohol use and cancer development, and further linked former and current smoking with an increased risk of all three cancers.
Jessie Steevens, the study author, M.Sc., of the Department of Epidemiology at Maastricht University, in Maastricht, said: "The results of this study again confirm recommendations for a healthy lifestyle, namely not to smoke and to drink alcohol in moderation."
However, the study further revealed that their findings lacked explanation regarding the rising incidence of these tumours, specifically esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) and gastric cardia adenocarcinoma (GCA), a cancer of the upper stomach area, where it joins the esophagus.
The experts, who had been following the health of more than 120,000 Netherlands residents since 1986, sought to refine the risk between different cancer subtypes and had administered lifestyle questionnaires to the participants, who were healthy when they enrolled.
After 16 years, the boffins identified 120 ESCC cases, 168 EAC cases, and 187 GCA cases amongst the 120,852 partakers.
Steevens said: "For example, a person drinking four glasses of alcohol had five times the risk of developing the cancer compared to a person who does not drink alcohol."
The findings were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research's Seventh Annual International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research.