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Men who drink alcohol on a regular basis are twice as likely to develop colon cancer than those who do not, according to researchers at the Aichi Cancer Center.

The team, led by senior researcher Kenji Wakai, based its conclusions on a study of the lifestyles of about 58,000 men and women over a period of seven years.

Wakai says giving up alcohol does not reduce the risk as those who were abstaining from alcohol for the duration of the study had more or less the same likelihood of developing colon cancer as those who were drinking.

The Wakai team plans to present its findings to a meeting of the Japanese Cancer Association that opens in Nagoya on Sept. 25.

Wakai and his research team studied the lifestyles of the 58,000 subjects, who were aged between 40 and 79, over a three-year period to 1990 and conducted followup checks over the next 7 1/2 years.

The team found that about 420 of the 58,000 people developed colon cancer during the followup period, and calculated the rate of colon cancer among drinkers, nondrinkers and those who were abstaining from drinking.

The team found that the likelihood of developing colon cancer was nearly twice as high among drinking males than nondrinkers and the rate among men who were abstaining from alcohol was more than twice.