HealthDay News — New research suggests that in the United States, a third of esophageal cancer cases – about 5,600 per year – could be prevented if people maintained a healthy weight and didn’t drink.

In the new report, experts at the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research reviewed 46 studies involving more than 15 million adults, including 31,000 who developed esophageal cancer.

The analysis showed that for every 5-point increase in body mass index, there is a 48% increased risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma. About 60% of esophageal cancer cases in the United States are adenocarcinomas. The researchers also found that the risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma increases 25% for every 10 g of alcohol consumed a day – about equivalent to a glass of beer or wine.

“These findings add to the evidence that lifestyle plays a powerful role in cancer risk,” Alice Bender, head of nutrition at the American Institute for Cancer Research, said in an institute new release. “Obesity is now linked to 11 types of cancer and alcohol links to 6. We want individuals to know you can take important lifestyle steps to reduce risk for many kinds of cancer.”

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  1. New report links obesity, alcohol to esophageal cancers [news release]. Washington, DC: American Institute for Cancer Research. Published July 28, 2016.