Alcohol consumption is a major risk factor for cancer.
Among male and female lifetime consumers, the risk for all the cancers increases with each additional drink a day.
Regular consumption of even 18g of alcohol per day increases the risk of breast cancer.
18g is equivalent to just under: 2 regular glasses of wine or champagne, 1.3 pints of beer or nearly 6cl of whiskey
Likewise, it is confirmed an increased risk in colorectal cancer for regular drinkers of 50g of alcohol per day.
Together, smoking and alcohol have a synergistic effect on cancer risk, meaning the combined effects of use are significantly greater than the sum of individual risks.
Alcohol use may contribute to weight (fat) gain, and greater body fatness is a convincing cause of cancer of the oesophagus, pancreas, bowel, endometrium, kidney and breast.
Alcohol attributable cancers:
- upper aerodigestive tract (44%)*
- liver cancer
- bowel cancer
- colorectal cancer (17%)*
- breast cancer (5%)*
Even though light to moderate alcohol consumption might decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality, the net effect of alcohol is harmful. Thus, alcohol consumption should not be recommended to prevent cardiovascular disease or all-cause mortality.
* Please note the percentage of alcohol-attributable cancers are according to various studies.
Alcohol and heart disease
Earlier research which reported that low to moderate levels of alcohol consumption might reduce the incidence of heart disease might not have been fully accurate. The potential benefits of moderate alcohol consumption on heart disease appear to be limited to middle-aged and older people.
World Health Organisation stated back in 2007 that ' (...)from both the public health and clinical viewpoints, there is no merit in promoting alcohol consumption as a preventative strategy (...)'