Your study found an association between drinking white wine and developing invasive melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer. How strong is the association?
Each drink per day of white wine was associated with a 13 percent increased risk of melanoma. Other alcoholic beverages including beer and red wine were also positively associated with melanoma but the association was more modest and not statistically significant.
Why did you decide to study the impact of alcohol consumption on skin cancer risk?
Alcohol consumption has been associated with so many cancer sites in hundreds of epidemiological studies. However, there have been few studies evaluating alcohol consumption and skin cancer.
We're guessing white wine consumption is higher in warm weather, and so is sun exposure. Could that be the connection?
Probably not. We had good amount of information on sunlight exposure and were able to adjust for the information. The positive association was still found after we adjust for risk factors of melanoma including sunlight exposure. However, we do not have a good explanation why white wine intake was particularly associated with melanoma.
Your study was limited to white men and women. Any reason for people of color to be concerned?
Melanoma is more common in white than other racial groups. There is no known reason why the association between alcohol consumption and melanoma would differ by race.
What's the next step in this research?
We would like to explore why the association appeared stronger with white wine. We would also like to explore why melanomas of less sun exposed body sites were more strongly associated with alcohol consumption that those with higher sun exposure.
Read more Diagnosis: Cancer here »