Journal Article
Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
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Alcohol consumption and self-reported sunburn: a cross-sectional, population-based survey.

BACKGROUND: Heavy drinking has been associated with several cancers, including melanoma and basal cell carcinoma.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to determine whether excessive drinking is associated with sunburn, a risk factor for skin cancer.

METHODS: As part of the 2004 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a population-based telephone survey, 299,658 adults reported their use of alcohol in the preceding month and a history of sunburn in the preceding year.

RESULTS: Approximately 33.5% of respondents reported a sunburn within the past year. Heavier average alcohol use and binge drinking were both positively associated with prevalence and number of sunburns within the past year. The adjusted odds ratios for prevalence and number of sunburns among binge drinkers were 1.39 (95% confidence interval 1.31-1.48) and 1.29 (95% confidence interval, 1.20-1.38), respectively. Associations tended to be of similar magnitude for average alcohol use and in all subgroups evaluated.

LIMITATIONS: This study was cross-sectional and relied upon participant self-report.

CONCLUSION: Excessive drinking is associated with higher rates of sunburn among American adults. The observed relationship typifies the high-risk behavior associated with excessive drinking and suggests one pathway linking alcohol use with skin cancer.

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