People with a family history of cancer should seriously consider stopping drinking alcohol altogether experts have warned in response to new research which shows a link between light drinking and the disease, particularly breast cancer.
The study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) concludes that drinking just a small amounts of alcohol increases the risk of cancer in women and men who smoke.
The findings are based on data taken from two US studies, representing more than 135,000 people tracked over 30 years. Researchers from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Brighham and Women’s Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, in Boston, Massachusets, analysed the rate at which people succumbed to cancer.
After allowing for other risk factors such as obesity, smoking, and family history of the disease, they found that light to moderate drinking – less than two drinks a day for women, and three to four drinks daily for men – is linked to an increased cancer risk.
The lead researcher recommends
“Women with a family history of breast cancer should consider reducing their alcohol intake to below recommended limits [no more than 2-3 units a day], or even abstaining altogether. And all people, whatever their medical history, are recommended to take a break from drinking a few days a week”
Read more here
Warwickshire DAAT is planning a campaign to highlight this issue. More details will appear in this blog.
NOTE: The Daily Mail’s coverage, which was front page news, was generally accurate but failed to make clear that while the increase in cancer risk for women who drank moderately was statistically significant it was also relatively small.
Read assessment of Daily Mail article here