Researchers have found that light drinking results only in a minimal rise in the risk of all cancer types; however, it significantly increases breast cancer risk in women.
Drinking habit is known for being a risk factor for several cancers, for instance, larynx, liver, colorectal, and esophageal cancer. However, to date cancer risk has primarily been linked with heavy drinking. Now, a large study conducted by researchers in the United States has particularly looked at the link between cancer and alcohol among light to moderate drinkers.
The study, which was published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), revealed that light drinking can result in negligible increase in risk of all cancer types, but can significantly increase a woman’s risk of having breast cancer. For those who don’t know: the term light drinking refers to a standard drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
According to the study authors, a standard drink contains 15 grams of alcohol, which is approximately equivalent to a 355 ml bottle of beer or a 118 ml glassful of wine.
Researchers carrying out the study said that the rise in breast cancer risk was observed irrespective of the fact whether the women in question were smokers or not. This is because smoking is not known for being a risk factor for breast cancer.
The study found that men who smoked and had two standard drinks every day experienced an increase in their chances of having any cancer. This increase in cancer risk was not observed among men who were nonsmokers, but had a similar amount of alcohol per day.
To carry out this study, researchers analyzed data presented by a couple of large US studies. They are: the Health Professionals Follow-up Study for men and the Nurses’ Health Study for women.
The two above mentioned studies kept track of the health of as many as 47,881 men and 88,084 women for up to three decades. Using the data put forward by these studies, researchers assessed risk of all cancer types. Also, they also assessed risk of cancers known for having a link with alcohol consumption; some such cancer types are: esophageal, larynx, oral cavity, liver, pharynx, female breast and colorectal cancers.