Gapstur S M (Division of Epidemiology, University of Minnesota, School of Public Health, Suite 300 1300 South Second Street, Minneapolis, MN 55454-1015, USA), Potter J D and Folsom A R. Alcohol consumption and colon and rectal cancer in postmenopausal women. International Journal of Epidemiology 1994; 23: 50-57. The associations between alcohol and colon and rectal cancers were examined in the lowa Women's Health Study. In January 1986, 41 837 postmenopausal women, aged 55-69, completed a questionnaire including usual alcohol intake and other information. Through December 1990, 237 incident colon and 75 rectal cancer cases occurred. Mantel Haenszel age-adjusted relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (Cl) for consumers of <4.0 and ≥14.0 g of alcohol per day compared to abstainers were 1.07 (0.61-1.89) and 1.27 (0.72-2.24) (P for trend = 0.46) for rectal cancer. Alcohol intake was inversely associated with distal colon cancer (RR for <4.0 and ≥4.0 g of alcohol per day were 0.64 and 0.69 respectively, P for trend = 0.04), which was specific to wine; however, no association was observed with proximal colon cancer (P for trend = 0.94). This is the only report of an inverse association between alcohol and colon cancer in women. Because gut physiology and alcohol metabolism differ between men and women, more research on the association between alcohol and colon cancer in women only, is warranted.
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This publication was supported by grant R01-A 39742 to Dr Folsom from the US National Cancer Institute. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Cancer Institute. Dr Gapstur was supported by NIH training grant T32 CA099607 to Dr Potter.