Alcohol increases cancer risk

According to research published in the British Medical Journal, alcohol consumption is the cause of around 13,000 cancers a year in Britain.

Research conducted by the German Institute of Human Nutrition, Potsdam-Rehbruecke suggests that drinking more than one pint of beer each day can increase the risk of certain cancers. From the 13,000 total cancer cases each year, 9,000 are in in men and 4,000 in women. More specifically, 6,000 cancers are of the mouth, food pipe, voice box and pharynx, 3000 bowel cancers and 2,500 breast cancers.

The European wide study focused on the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Greece, Germany and Denmark and included more than 350,000 people. The combined results showed that 1 in every 10 of all cancers in men, and 1 in 33 in women were caused by past or current alcohol intake. The findings show that many cancers cases could be prevented if alcohol consumption was reduced below the recommended guidelines.

Cancer Partners UK medical director Prof Karol Sikora said the message had to be "drink occasionally, but not regularly. The take-home message is that the more alcohol you drink, some of the common cancers - the four cancers that have been identified - do increase, and that's worrying. So the message has to be 'look at drinking habits, and reduce.”

The Department of Health is set to publish a new alcohol strategy this summer which is expected to include plans to stop supermarkets selling alcohol as cheaply as well as tightening up licencing laws.  

A common name for the large and/or small intestines. Full medical glossary
Abnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. Full medical glossary