Moderate drinking increases the risk for cancer among women
According to findings recently published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, a few drinks a day increases the risk for a variety of cancers in women. According to Naomi E. Allen, D. Phil., of the University of Oxford, and colleagues, “Although the magnitude of the excess absolute risk associated with one additional drink per day may appear small for some cancer sites, the high prevalence of moderate alcohol drinking among women in many populations means that the proportion of cancers attributable to alcohol is an important public health issue.” The study showed that even low or moderate use of alcohol among women increased the risk for half a dozen cancers. However, breast cancer posed the greatest risk for female drinkers. The following is an excerpt of an article from Medpage Today that reviews the study’s findings:
The weight of epidemiologic evidence persuaded the International Agency for Research on Cancer to conclude in 2007 that alcohol causes breast cancer in women and cancer of the oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus, larynx, colorectum, and liver in both sexes.
But most of the evidence has come from studies involving men who were heavy drinkers, the authors noted. Little information exists about the cancer risks associated with moderate alcohol intake, typical of most women.
To examine the impact of drinking on cancer risk in women, investigators analyzed data from the Million Women Study, which involved 1.3 million middle-aged women who attended breast cancer screening clinics in England from 1996 through 2001.
In surveys completed at enrollment and three years later, participants provided information about weekly alcohol consumption.