How Daily Alcohol Consumption Affects Cancer Risk
If people consume an alcoholic drink regularly every day for years, this significantly increases their risk of developing cancer. Apparently, even small amounts of alcohol, which are consumed daily for a long period, can have a strong influence on the risk of cancer.
The latest study by the University of Tokyo and Harvard University found that consuming just one alcoholic drink a day for ten years increased the risk of cancer by five percent. The results of the study were published in the English language journal "Cancer".
More than 120,000 people were examined
The new study of more than 120,000 people in Japan found that regularly consuming small amounts of alcohol (one drink) significantly increased the risk of cancer. In the study, an alcoholic beverage was defined as a medium glass of wine (180 ml), 500 ml of beer or 60 ml of whiskey.
Daily alcohol consumption and its effects
When people consumed two alcoholic beverages a day for five years, the risk of developing some form of cancer increased as much as when people consumed one alcoholic drink a day for a decade, the researchers report.
Increasing alcohol consumption increases the risk of cancer
The research group thus found an almost linear relationship between alcohol consumption and emerging cancers. With increasing alcohol consumption, the risk of cancer also increased.
What types of cancer are favored by alcohol?
The most common alcohol-related cancers were cancer of the mouth, throat, and throat, and breast cancer in women. Even light to moderate alcohol consumption seems to be associated with an increased risk of cancer.
Cancer soon to be the leading cause of death worldwide?
If current global developments continue, cancer could become the new leader in global causes of death in the near future. In view of the current burden of general cancer incidence, public education about alcohol-related cancer risk should definitely be promoted.
Results do not have to apply to all countries
The results applied to all study participants, regardless of their gender, whether they smoked and how much money was available to them. However, since the study was conducted specifically on the Japanese population, this does not mean that the same results apply in other countries.
Why could the results differ?
Studies on alcohol consumption in East Asian people may differ in their results from studies in Europe or America, as many people in the East Asian region have a genetic modification that causes them to be able to tolerate less alcohol. Due to the hereditary change that can be observed in about a third of the Chinese, Japanese and Koreans, the body is more severely damaged by alcohol consumption. Affected people carry less of an enzyme called aldehyde dehydrogenase, which may increase their risk of alcohol-related cancer. (as)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- Masayoshi Zaitsu, Takumi Takeuchi, Yasuki Kobayashi, Ichiro Kawachi: Light to moderate amount of lifetime alcohol consumption and risk of cancer in Japan, in Cancer (query: 12.12.2019), Cancer