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Diet & Health : Cancer Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

Drinking wine may help prevent esophageal cancer
By David Liu
Mar 2, 2009 - 3:48:41 PM

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March 2, 2009 ( -- Drinking some red wine from time to time may help reduce risk of developing esophageal cancer, a new study published n the March 2009 issue of Gastroenterology suggests.

The study led by Kaiser Permanente researchers found men and women who drank one or more glasses of red or white wine a day were 56 percent less likely to develop Barrett's esophagus.

Barrett's esophagus affects five percent of the population and it occurs when acid reflux damages the lining of the esophagus. 

Barrett’s esophagus is a precursor to esophageal cancer. People with the condition are at a 30 to 40 times higher risk of developing a type of cancer called esophageal adenocarcinoma.

For the study, Dr. Douglas A. Corley and colleagues looked at data from 953 men and women in Northern California.

The researchers found the protective effect of wine did not increase with any increase in consumption and there was no association between drinking beer or liquor and risk of Barrett's esophagus. 

It remains unknown why drinking wine is associated with lower risk of Barrett's esophagus. The researchers suspect that antioxidants in wine may play a role.

Alcoholic beverages are recognized by the U.S. government as carcinogens and doctors advise that excessive drinking can raise risk of cancer.  

The French government is reportedly about to warn its citizens against drinking wine because a comprehensive study shows that drinking wine is linked to a variety of cancer.

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