Beer tied to 700 percent increase in gastric cancer: Do you have the gene?

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istockphoto

(CBS) - If you drink beer to drown your sorrows, here's one more to add. Beer lovers who drink three glasses a day for years increase their chances of gastric cancer by 75 percent.

Still standing? It gets worse.

If you have a gene variant called rs1230025, that risk goes up by a shocking 700 percent. For those with the gene, that don't drink beer, the increased gastric cancer risk is about 30 percent.

One in five people has the gene, say researchers.

All that welcome news is according to a new study from the Catalan Institute of Oncology in Barcelona, Spain, which analyzed the alcohol consumption and gastric cancer rates of half a million Europeans.

Gastric cancer killed nearly 11,000 people last year in America, according to the National Cancer Institute. It most often strikes those 65 and older.

The study, which was presented at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, clearly showed a correlation between beer and gastric cancer, but scientists can't say for sure if beer was the cause. There is a silver lining to all this, however. It seems wine and hard liquor drinkers are off the hook. They didn't show any increase in gastric cancer risk. 

Bottoms to that.

RESOURCES
National Cancer Institute's gastric cancer page
Mayo Clinic's stomach cancer page