September 12, 2012
Listen up all you drinkers!
A new study, being reported in the Annals of Oncology, says that it's not just heavy drinkers who need to worry about the health implications of alcohol. The study indicates that even light drinking increases cancer risk.
The research - based on more than 150,000 men and women - found that light drinking increases the likelihood of cancer of the mouth, pharynx, oesophagus and breast, and estimates that light drinking is responsible for 34,000 worldwide deaths a year.
In the study, researchers from the University of Milan and other institutions in the US, France, Canada, Iran and Sweden, estimated that, in one year alone, 24,000 deaths from oesophageal cancer, 5,000 from oral and pharyngeal, and 5,000 from breast cancer, were due to light drinking. The study defined light drinking as up to one drink a day or 12.5g or less of ethanol.
One drink a day increased the risk of cancer of the oesophagus by almost a third, the study says. Low alcohol intake increased the risk of oral cavity and pharynx cancer by 17 per cent, and breast cancer in women by 5 per cent.
It's unclear why light intake increases the risk of some cancers and not others. The researchers suggest that with cancer of the mouth, pharynx and oesophagus it may be because the alcohol comes into direct contact with the affected tissue.
They suggest the rise in risk for breast cancer may be associated with increased levels of oestrogen, or higher levels of insulin-like growth factors that are produced by the liver after drinking alcohol.
Of course, other evidence suggestions that drinking in moderation could lower the risk of heart disease, leading to the belief that one glass of wine a day is good for you.
Well, we're all going to meet our maker some day, right? Personally, I'd like to enjoy myself before that happens rather than get caught up in all this scientific mumbo jumbo.
How about you?