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Just One Drink a Day Can Increase Cancer Risk

Just One Drink a Day Can Increase Cancer Risk

Even light drinking (1 drink/day) can increase the risk of developing certain cancers, according to a review of over 200 scientific studies published in the Journal of Oncology. Indeed, researchers say that light drinking could be a reason for as many as 34,000 deaths a year.

In particular, researchers from the University of Milan and other institutions in the US, France, Canada, Iran and Sweden found that light drinking increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, esophagus and breast. One drink a day increased the risk of developing cancer of the esophagus by a third, of having oral cavity and pharynx cancer by 17 percent and of developing breast cancer by 5 percent.

Translated into numbers, researchers said that low alcohol consumption was responsible for 24,000 deaths from esophageal cancer, 5,000 from oral and pharyngeal cancer and 5,000 from breast cancer.

Data from 92,000 light drinkers and 60,000 non-drinkers provided the basis for the study‘s findings.

The researchers did not find a link between light drinking and colon, liver and larynx cancers, all of which have been associated with heavier drinking. Worldwide, 2.2 million deaths a year can be linked to alcohol, with 3.6 percent of all cancers due to the consumption of alcohol.

In the Independent, Professor Peter Johnson, Cancer Research UK‘s chief clinician, points out that the study’s findings highlight that there is a “small but definite increase in the risk, particularly for those parts of the body, such as the throat and esophagus, that come into direct contact with alcohol.”

As for why light drinking can be linked to breast cancer, researchers noted that this is possibly because, after drinking alcohol, the liver produces “increased levels of estrogen, or higher levels of insulin-like growth factors.”

Of course, other studies have found that light drinking can have health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease, type-2 diabetes and dementia.

The new study is notable for highlighting health risks from only one drink a day, while most other studies have looked at people whose drinking is moderate or high or who are binge drinkers. It’s not the news many wish to hear regarding even light alcohol consumption but more evidence to keep in mind about preventing cancer.

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11:55PM PDT on Sep 11, 2012

Unless you have some personal reason not to let this go, Erica, I ask that you do just that. There is no known "genetic predisposition" to cancer, and that is the premise of the article, along with the consumption of ONE drink of alcohol a day being a "trigger". How do you know if you have the genes to become malignant at some point in time, or not? There is no test for such a gene (yet). My sister (half-sister) was the only person EVER in my family to have cancer, so the point made in my own comment was that her life style (heavy drinking, PLUS heavy cigarette smoking, PLUS poor nutrition) may have contributed to HER conditions. Cancer wasn't even recognized a century ago and my family history is only known back to when my Mother was born (1906). Her mother died in childbirth when she was 6, and her Father of TB when he was an old man (he was also a smoker, if I recall). Thank you for the concern about my health, but it's unfounded and my health is pretty danged good, actually. Sleep well, and know that I'm already far past the point when my sister passed away (we were 15 years apart in age, BTW). I have 2 decades to go to catch up to when my Mom passed, and have a much healthier lifestyle than she did, so expect to at least make it as far as she, which wasn't bad, considering.

2:42AM PDT on Sep 11, 2012

Miss Diane, I wasn't sniping at you, or insinuating you drink too much, or anything else even remotely nasty. You brought up your sister's bouts of cancer, and even if she has the same blood as ONE of your parents, that is still a genetic issue you should be concerned about. I don't have to like you to be concerned about your welfare. The fact that you don't believe I am motivated by concern for another human being makes me think you don't feel worthy of such concern, or consider me to be a hateful person. I don't only care about animals, I care about people too, even though animals are usually more worthy of that care.

I would like to point out that you have had friends "pitch in" to support you on many threads, and whether or not you have asked them to is not the point. I didn't ask Lee to stick up for me, but she saw you bashing me for showing concern over your health, and chose to speak up. I appreciate her for that...and she is correct in stating your protest is hypocritical.

Btw, I do not have cancer in my family history, so whether I drink any alcohol or not is a moot point...I don't have a genetic predisposition for cancer, which is WHY I brought up the genetic issue. As I stated previously, I don't think the theories mentioned in this article are concrete, UNLESS the person that drinks an alcoholic beverage has cancer in their family history.

1:00AM PDT on Sep 11, 2012

Does that also apply to those who come in and support you Diane? Don't be hypocritical. As long as you or Erica post in these threads, it is the business of anyone who wishes to comment. You've (as have others) certainly made that policy, when of course it suits your own purpose. I simply stated on what I have read and happen to know of Erica.

12:42AM PDT on Sep 11, 2012

Lee, I think Inari's observation is pretty accurate. I posted my opinion on this topic, and supported Erica in her comment as well. It was not necessary for Erica to come in days later and post her "concern" for my genetics and make some remark about me being a "time bomb" when the only thing being discussed here was the consumption of one drink of alcohol a day as having a connection to cancer. As I said, her comment was made personally to ME and I replied to what she'd said. It does not need your intervention. There is also no need to bring anyone else or any other discussion into this. Post all you wish, Lee........ON the topic. As a Care.2 member, that's your right, but the comment made BY Erica, addressed TO me, and mine to her, solely as a response to her, are none of your business.

12:30AM PDT on Sep 11, 2012

Hmmm ... maybe spending time on-line, sniping at others over dodgy research, is also a health hazard? Cheers! ;-)

12:01AM PDT on Sep 11, 2012

Why is it Diane that I can post and then I get chastised for saying whatever it is I've said by another member who makes it known she is supporting you, but yet I cannot support another as having said something that is caring and out of concern. I find it totally hypocritical at best that you seem to take exception when the situation is reversed. I think Erica explained herself and you should take her word at what she meant, just as you and your supporter in another thread expected for you to be taken at yours.

10:48PM PDT on Sep 10, 2012

"I think Erica's comments were clearly misunderstood" were mine, Lee, that is, IF they were meant only out of concern and kindness. You think what you will. The comment was made to me, and the references were pretty clear. Knowing of the details about my own family, and which I posted accurately, AND of what Erica has said about herself, I found them a bit hypocritical. It certainly did not require your "intervention", which could always have been made in a PM if you were just a "concerned" member.

6:34AM PDT on Sep 10, 2012

I think Erica's comments were clearly misunderstood. She is a very caring person and I think her consideration of everything she has been told extends only to her incredible concern for you. It's easy to misread or misunderstand what was intended as it's been clearly pointed out in these very threads, so please don't take Erica's words in any way other than which they were intended, which is kindness.

4:43AM PDT on Sep 10, 2012

I'm not defensive at all, Erica, since there is no reason to be. My sister and I had different fathers, completely different lifestyles, including the consumption of alcohol, diet, exercise and everything else. No cancer issues with anyone else in my family, so the "gene" thing just didn't make any sense to even address in the first place. You brought my Mother's health issues into it as far as my being concerned about "genes". Why would the fact my Mother drank beer (heavily) every day of her life, did not eat and smoked heavily and had emphyszema and died of a stroke at the age of 89 make me consider a genetic connection to cancer?

3:59AM PDT on Sep 10, 2012

Diane, you mentioned cancer in your family, which would give one concern, considering the dangers of alcohol in relation to cancer. That's why I brought up the genetic issue with you! So I thought it would be altruistic to point that out. I didn't mean anything by it other than concern...and I certainly did not accuse you of drinking too much or being an alcoholic. Go ahead and get defensive, it's no skin off my nose! My conscience is clear.

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