A Link between Light Drinking and Cancer

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People who have a family history of cancer should consider giving up alcohol, even if consumed in small amounts, according to experts.

Researchers at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Brighham and Women’s Hospital, and Harvard Medical School analysed data from 135,000 people in the US over a 30 year period to see at what rate people succumbed to cancer.

After taking into consideration variable risk factors such as obesity, smoking and any family history of cancer the researchers found that women who drank lightly-moderately, regardless if they smoked or not, were at a 13% increased risk of getting cancer, especially breast cancer.

Men who drank at low levels were also at a high risk of getting a drink related cancer.

‘Breast tissue might be more susceptible to alcohol than other organs. Probable explanations involve increased estrogen and androgen levels,’ the study stated

Although the study concluded that light to moderate drinking was associated with ‘small and non-significant increased risk of overall cancer’ in an accompanying editorial published in the British Medical Journal Dr Jürgen Rehm said:

“People with a family history of cancer, especially women with a family history of breast cancer, should consider reducing their alcohol intake to below recommended limits, or even abstaining altogether, given the now well established link between moderate drinking and alcohol related cancers.”

Source: The Independent