Light alcohol intake linked to cancer risk

Even light alcohol intake every day can increase risk of cancer, a study has found.

The researchers analyzed the data from two large US studies involving 88,084 women and 47,881 men, whose health was monitored for up to 30 years. They assessed their risk of alcohol-related cancers, including liver, colon, rectal, breast, oral cavity, pharynx and esophagus cancers.

The participants completed a questionnaire every four years to determine the alcohol consumption. After the follow-up period, 19,269 women were diagnosed with cancers and 7,571 men were diagnosed with cancers.

The study revealed that women who engaged in light to moderate drinking were at higher risk of alcohol-related cancers, particularly breast cancer. Among the men participants, light to moderate alcohol intake was only linked to increased risk of alcohol-related cancers in those who had a history of smoking.

The findings suggest that even light to moderate drinking can influence cancer risk. Moreover, people with positive family history of cancer should consider abstaining from alcohol. Light to moderate drinking was defined as up to one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.

In the past, the studies have associated chronic drinking with greater risk of certain malignancies including breast carcinoma, colorectal cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma and mouth cancer. Experts say that there is no guaranteed safe level of drinking, but if you drink within the recommended daily limits, the risks of harming your health are extremely low.

In 2013, more than 50 % of American adults aged 18 and older reported consuming alcohol in the last four weeks. Alcohol contributes to number of chronic medical conditions such as ascites, cirrhosis, gouty arthritis, hepatitis, and pancreatitis. Hundreds of thousands of people die from alcohol-related disorders each year across the globe. IMAGE/bbc


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