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Even Moderate Drinking Can Raise the Long-Term Risk of Some Types of Cancer


A growing body of research indicates even moderate drinking can increase a person’s risk of cancer, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Studies have found drinking alcohol can increase the risk of cancers of the breast, colon, liver, pancreas, esophagus, throat and larynx. Last week a study linked heavy alcohol consumption with a greater risk of developing lung cancer.

Some types of cancer, such as lung, colorectal and larynx, are associated with having three or four drinks a day on a regular basis. But studies have shown that even one alcoholic drink a day can increase the risk of cancer of the mouth or esophagus, the article states. Research also indicates breast cancer risk starts to increase with as few as three drinks per week.

The risk of most cancers rises the more someone drinks. A new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found men who have three or more drinks a day have a 41 percent increased risk of dying of any type of cancer. Women who have two or more drinks a day raise their cancer risk by 20 percent.

Drinking alcohol in smaller amounts—one to two drinks a day—has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, the article notes. Regularly drinking more than that amount can increase the risk of heart damage and stroke.

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