The study, which was done by scientists from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, sets to infirm the theory that moderate drinking is good for the health – corroborating it instead with an increased risk in multiple cancer types.
It shows that even light drinkers might have an increased cancer risk. The studies leading to these results were done in the United States, on over 100,000 adults, who are either light, moderate or heavy drinkers and smokers or non-smokers. By matching their drinking habits with their possibility of developing cancer at one point in their lives, the results were kind of discouraging for drinkers.
Apparently, any kind of drinking results in increased cancer risk, but drinking alcohol within recommended limits has a negligible effect on statistics and won’t likely be the main cause of you ever getting cancer.
But moderate drinking has shown a bigger increase in the risk, with it mostly affecting chances of mouth, liver, bowel, gullet and throat cancer. For women, even light drinking (about a drink a day) seemed to be linked with a higher chance of breast cancer especially.
“Cutting down on alcohol helps reduce the risk of cancer, so try having more alcohol-free days each week or swapping every other drink for something soft on a night out” said Sarah Wiliams, health information manager at Cancer Research UK.
As far as alcohol types are concerned, none of them are actually safe from the effect. But researchers found that the risk did scale with alcohol strength and the quantity drank; so heavy beer drinkers will have less of a cancer risk than heavy vodka drinkers. An increased cancer risk was also found in people who smoke and drink at the same time, while people who managed to reduce their rate of drinking.
According to the researchers though, the negligible effects of light drinking on the risk of developing cancer make it a good alternative for those who don’t want to give up drinking or can’t. In the United States, light drinking is being measured as up to 30 grams of alcohol per day for men, which means roughly two bottles of normal beer, and 15 grams per day for women, which is akin to quite a small glass of wine.
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