Researchers say the risk was greater for parts of the body that receive less sun exposure.
The study was published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
Researchers at Brown University were trying to determine whether alcohol consumption increased melanoma risk.
For their research, they used data from three large prospective cohort studies in which over 210,000 participants were followed for an average of 18.3 years.
Overall, researchers found alcohol intake was associated with a 14 percent higher risk of melanoma per drink, per day. And each drink per day of white wine was associated with a 13 percent increased risk of melanoma.
The study found other forms of alcohol did not significantly affect melanoma risk.
The author of the student, Eunyoung Cho, ScD, said it was surprising that white wine was the only drink independently associated with increased risk of melanoma. The reason for the link is unclear.
However, researchers say some wine has somewhat higher levels of pre-existing acetaldehyde than beer or spirits.
While red and white wine may have similar amounts of pre-existing acetaldehyde, the antioxidants in red wine may offset the risks, Cho said.
“The clinical and biological significance of these findings remains to be determined, but for motivated individuals with other strong risk factors for melanoma, counseling regarding alcohol use may be an appropriate risk-reduction strategy to reduce risks of melanoma as well as other cancers,” Cho said. “For drinkers, risks and benefits of alcohol consumption have to be considered individually, including the risk related to skin cancer.”
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