There has been a lot of conflicting evidence down through the years regarding the pros and cons of that daily glass of wine, but authors of a new study have issued a warning to women everywhere.
According to the study, carried out by a team of Harvard University researchers, having just one drink a day increases the risk of developing breast cancer by 15%.
Writing in the BMJ, the team went on to urge people with a history of cancer – particularly women – to consider reducing their alcohol intake to below the recommended levels.
They also reiterated the danger of smoking, finding a link between alcohol and cancer in men who had smoked at some point in their lives; this same link did not exist in men who had never smoked.
The study results showed that breast cancer was the leading alcohol-related cancer in women, while the corresponding disease for men is colorectal cancer. In all, alcohol consumption was estimated to be the cause of 3.6% of cancers worldwide.
Commenting on the study, Dr Jurgen Rehm of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto said: “Finally, people with a family history of cancer, especially women with a family history of breast cancer, should consider reducing their alcohol intake to below recommended limits, or even abstaining altogether, given the now well established link between moderate drinking and alcohol-related cancers.”
“GPS do not want to be killjoys – but we want our patients to live long and healthy lives; and lifestyle habits, such as smoking and drinking alcohol are very real risk factor in developing cancer that can’t be ignored,” added Dr Richard Roope of the Royal College of GPs.