Just one alcoholic drink a day increases risk of cancer

JUST one alcoholic drink a day increases the chances of a person developing cancer and the only way to eliminate the risk is go teetotal.

From the Irish Independent

Drinking one standard alcoholic drink a day is linked to a 9pc increase in the risk of developing breast cancer, while three to six pushes this up to 41pc, said Prof Peter Anderson of the Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University, England.

Prof Anderson, who was speaking at a conference hosted by the Irish Cancer Society said: “The risk goes up the more you drink. If you want to remove the risk entirely, don’t drink. If not, drink less.”

He added: “Alcohol consumption can cause cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx, oesophagus, liver, colon, and rectum in both men and women, and is a cause of breast cancer in women”.

“Three people in Ireland die from oral and pharyngeal cancer (OPC) every week – which is more than skin melanoma or cervical cancer.”

On average, Irish alcohol drinkers consume about 37g of alcohol a day.

Alcohol causes one in 10 cancers in men and one in 33 cancers in women – a total of 900 new cancer cases each year in Ireland.

He told the conference: “The guidelines for alcohol consumption are not strong enough, particularly when considering it as a carcinogenic.

“By comparison, there are more stringent guidelines in place for restricting the use of pesticides on fruit than for controlling alcohol consumption in humans.

“From a public health perspective, the Irish Government should legislate against alcohol advertising and sponsorship as has been the case for tobacco. Research has proven that alcohol marketing increases the likelihood of adolescents consuming alcohol.

“It will not be possible for Irish society to develop a healthier relationship with alcohol if alcohol continues to be marketed in such an aggressive fashion.”

The cancer rates go up as alcohol consumption increases and there is usually a timelag involved.

“It takes a few years to kick in.”

As far as the individual is concerned it normally takes some years to develop. The ethanol in the alcohol is a cancer-causing agent .

Speaking at the conference Kathleen O’Meara, head of advocacy and communications in the Irish Cancer Society, said: “Ireland has one of the highest rates of cancer in the world and we can no longer ignore the impact of alcohol.

“When people smoke as well as drink, the two work in combination to substantially increase the risk of cancer. Alcohol and tobacco are estimated to account for about three-quarters of oral cancer cases in Europe. Cutting the number of people who will get cancer will require all decision-makers to make this a priority issue.”