Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Alcohol May Help Prevent Kidney Cancer

Moderate Drinkers May Be Less Likely to Develop Kidney Cancer Than Teetotalers, Researchers Say
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

May 15, 2007 -- Moderate drinking may make kidney cancer less likely.

That's according to a new study by Jung Eun Lee, ScD, and colleagues. Lee works in the medicine department at Harvard Medical School and Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Lee's team pooled data from 12 prospective studies on more than 530,000 women and more than 229,000 men.

When the studies started, participants had never been diagnosed with cancer, except for nonmelanoma skin cancer. They completed surveys about their alcohol consumption, eating habits, smoking, weight, and other factors.

Participants were followed for seven to 20 years. A total of 1,430 participants were diagnosed with kidney cancer during that time. Specifically, they were found to have renal cell cancer, the most common type of kidney cancer in adults.

Compared to teetotalers, people who reported moderate alcohol consumption were 28% less likely to be diagnosed with kidney cancer.

Moderate drinkers consumed at least 15 grams of alcohol per day. That's a little more than one daily drink. Heavy drinkers weren't included in the results.

The researchers considered participants' weight and history of smoking. But they didn't have information on all possible risk factors, including participants' family history of cancer.

Lee's team doesn't recommend that anyone drink to prevent kidney cancer.

The researchers note that alcohol has been linked to increased risk of other cancers, including oral cancer, breast cancer, liver cancer, and esophageal cancer (cancer of the esophagus).

"Maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding smoking are the principle known means to reduce the risk of renal cancer that should be encouraged, and doing so may also reduce the risk of many other cancers as well as cardiovascular disease," write Lee and colleagues.

Their study appears in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Today on WebMD

Colorectal cancer cells
New! I AM Not Cancer Facebook Group
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Ovarian cancer illustration
Real Cancer Perspectives
Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
what is your cancer risk
colorectal cancer treatment advances
breast cancer overview slideshow
prostate cancer overview
lung cancer overview slideshow
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
Actor Michael Douglas