Light or moderate drinking – one drink a day for women, and two drinks for men – could increase the risk of cancer.
The British Medical Journal looked at two large US studies involving more than 100,000 adults. The clearest link was with breast cancer.
These findings reinforce the well-believed health message that people should limit their drinking, with some alcohol free-days thrown in.
Some facts released via Cancer Research UK:
- Alcohol is linked to an increased risk of mouth, throat, gullet, bowel, liver and breast cancer
- Smoking and drinking together further increases cancer risk
- All types of alcohol increase cancer risk
- Cutting down on alcohol can reduce cancer risk
The study goes on to say men should not regularly drink more than three to four units (two cans of 4.5% lager) a day and women two to three units (two small glasses of 12% wine) a day.
Having said that, other factors can contribute to cancer risk.
In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Jurgen Rehm at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, said people with a family history of cancer “should consider reducing their intake to below recommended limits or even abstaining altogether, given the now well-established link between moderate drinking and alcohol-related cancers”.
The news is already making waves. Prof. Sir Ian Gilmore, chairman of the Alcohol Health Alliance UK, is ready to make changes. He’s advocated for mandatory health warnings on alcohol labels to help consumers make an informed choice.
“We all have a right to know what we are putting into our bodies and, at the minute, consumers are being denied this right.”