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Moderate alcohol consumption may increase risk of cancer: Research

*Experts found that having as few as two drinks per day can increase the long-term health risks of developing several different types of cancer

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Researchers from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, in fresh study, explored how alcohol can affect consumers’ health and wellness.

The study findings revealed that having as few as two drinks per day can increase the risk of developing several different types of cancer.

Researcher Dr. Isabelle Soerjomataram said: “Alcohol consumption causes a substantial burden of cancer globally.

“Yet the impact on cancers is often unknown or overlooked, highlighting the need for implementation of effective policy and interventions to increase public awareness of the link between alcohol use and cancer risk, and decrease overall alcohol consumption to prevent the burden of alcohol-attributable cancers.”

On the link between alcohol and cancer for the study, the researchers analysed data on alcohol consumption, alcohol sales, and long-term health outcomes for consumers around the world.

The group noted a clear link between moderate alcohol consumption and an increased risk of cancer; having one to two drinks per day was associated with a higher risk of oral, colon, and breast cancers.

Dr. Jürgen Rehm, one of the researchers, stated: “All drinking involves risk.

“And with alcohol-related cancers, all levels of consumption are associated with some risk.

“For example, each standard sized glass of wine per day is associated with a 6% higher risk for developing female breast cancer.”

Moderate alcohol consumption was specifically linked with the highest risk of breast cancer among consumers in Canada, according to report.

The researchers learned that having as many as two drinks per day was associated with a 24% increase in breast cancer cases for Canadians in 2020.

On a global scale, however, moderate drinkers made up nearly 15% of all new cancer diagnoses last year.

“Alcohol causes cancer in numerous ways.

“The main mechanism of how alcohol causes cancer is through impairing DNA repair. Additional pathways include chronic alcohol consumption resulting in liver cirrhosis, and alcohol leading to a dysregulation of sex hormones, leading to breast cancer.

Alcohol also increases the risk of head and neck cancer for smokers as it increases the absorption of carcinogens from tobacco,” said researcher Dr. Kevin Shield.

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