Individuals who are heavy alcohol consumers may be at an increased risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancer, an analysis has shown. The findings, published in the British Journal of Dermatology, revealed that for every 10-gram increase in alcohol intake per day, the risk of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) increased by 7 per cent and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) by 11 per cent. These are the two most common types of non-melanoma skin cancer. While ultraviolet radiation is directly linked to BCC and cSCC risk, the relationship between alcohol and these cancers is not exactly defined, the study said.
For the study, the team conducted a meta-analysis and reviewed findings from 13 case-control/cohort studies, which comprised 91,942 BCC cases and 3299 cSCC cases, to determine any link between alcohol intake and nonmelanoma skin cancer incidence.”This meta-analysis found evidence that alcohol drinking is positively associated with both BCC and cSCC risk in a dose-dependent manner,” said H.Yen from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. However, “these results should be interpreted with caution due to potential residual confounding”, Yen added.
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 non-melanoma skin cancers, the researchers said.