Even moderate drinking may increase cancer risk … slightly

The alcohol industry was accused of attempting to downplay the beverage’s connection to an increased risk of seven different types of cancer, and new research published by the journal Drug and Alcohol Review reveals that even “responsible drinking” bears a modest risk.

Drinking in excess is widely known to increase the risk of liver and pancreatic cancers, but even less than 1.5 units of alcohol per day — the equivalent of a small glass of wine — can raise a woman’s risk of mouth, throat, esophagus and breast cancer to rise, according to a report from the UK Committee on Carcinogenicity of Chemicals in Food.

Contrary to the alcohol industry’s push that only heavy drinking leads to other cancers, like rectum and colon, the risk does exist, if only modestly. But these drinking-in-moderation hazards are difficult to properly asses when health data on the benefits of occasional drinking exist, too. Some research shows that a drink per day may help diminish the risk of diabetes for women.

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