During screening colonoscopy, heavy drinkers of spirits or beer are more likely to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer, precancerous tumors, or large adenomas (polyps). On the other hand, wine drinkers have a lower risk.
Researchers at Stony Brook University questioned 2,291 patients undergoing screening colonoscopy about their drinking habits. Those who had more than 8 drinks of either alcoholic spirits or beer were significantly more likely to have an advanced colorectal neoplasia. Advanced neoplasia included cancer, high-grade dysplasia, villous tissue, adenomas 1 cm or greater, and more than two adenomas of any size.
Heavy drinkers had more than twice the risk of developing advanced polyps or cancer than abstainers or moderate drinkers. Wine appeared to have a protective effect with those consuming 8 or more glasses of wine each week having a lower risk.
Individuals over age 60, smokers, and the obese were also at higher risk.
Joseph Anderson, M.D. and his team concluded:
While there was a more than twofold increased risk of significant colorectal neoplasia in people who drink spirits and beer, people who drank wine had a lower risk. In our sample, people who drank more than eight servings of beer or spirits per week had at least a one in five chance of having significant colorectal neoplasia detected by screening colonoscopy.
[Read more about the study on *Reuters Health*.](http://go.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=healthNews&storyID=9707368&src=rss/healthNews)
[Read the study abstract in the *American Journal of Gastroenterology.*](http://www.amjgastro.com/showContent.asp?DID=4&SessionGUID=B9E28C55-3C9E-4DAC-9DBD-A5DECC905F45&id=ajg_4183292005&type=abstract)