Alcohol and Skin Melanoma

melanoma mole

What You Need to Know: Alcohol intake may increase sunburn severity, a major risk factor for cutaneous melanoma (CM). Several epidemiological studies have investigated the relation between alcohol consumption and CM, but the evidence is inconsistent. The current study combines studies (meta-analysis) to provide some clarity: Alcohol consumption is positively associated to the risk of skin melanoma.

Details, details: The present meta-analysis included 16 studies (14 case-control and 2 cohort investigations) with a total of 6,251 CM cases. The pooled relative risk (RR) for any alcohol drinking compared with non/occasional drinking was 1.20 (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.06-1.37). This means that the risk for a drinker is 1.2x greater than that of a non-drinker. For lint drinkers, the risk is 1.1x baseline, while for moderate to heavy drinkers it is 1.27x that of a non-drinker. Overall, after adjusting for sun exposure, the risk was 1.15x increased overall.

My Take: No evidence of publication bias was detected. For me, this simply reminds me to use precautions (hats, limit sun exposure, sunscreen, etc.), whether I drink or not. A single sunburn can be enough to increase your risk of melanoma, regardless of your race or skin color. I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.

The small print: The material presented herein is informational only, and is not designed to provide specific guidance for an individual. Please check with a valued health care provider with any questions or concerns. As for me, I am a Harvard- , Yale- and UPenn-educated radiation oncologist, and I practice in the Seattle, WA (USA) area. I feel genuinely privileged to be able to share with you. If you enjoyed today’s offering, please consider clicking the follow button at the bottom of this page.

Available now: Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Both can be found at the Apple Ibooks store. Coming Soon for iPad: Understand Breast Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minute; Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Thank you.

Reference: Rota et al. British J of Medicine; http://www.mdlinx.com/oncology/newsl-article.cfm/5088940/ZZ91C8F1B353954CB6B0809685C5A40D7C/?news_id=2206&newsdt=021914&utm_source=cme-rev&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_content=cme-rev-article&utm_campaign=article-section

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