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One standard drink boosts cancer risk with women, according to a new study conducted at Harvard University.
Previous studies undertook studying the relationship between heavy alcohol drinking and various types of cancer. It is an established fact that high intake of alcohol boosts the risk for liver cancer, as well as colorectal cancer, esophageal cancer or larynx cancer.
This new study took a slightly different approach to the issue and underlined how moderate drinking may also boost cancer risk.
Light drinking, defined in the Harvard study as two standard drinks for men and one standard drink for women, was found to be linked to a higher risk of developing cancer as well, albeit minimally.
One standard drink is defined by the researchers as containing 15 grams of alcohol. That would be the equivalent of one smaller beer bottle or a glass of wine.
The most important finding of the study is that for women, even one glass of wine significantly increases the risk of breast cancer, particularly if the women have a family history of the disease. In the case of men, the risk of developing cancer was boosted significantly when another factor was added: smoking. In the case of non-smoking men, cancer risk did not increased significantly.
The study, conducted by researchers of the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in collaboration with the Boston Women’s Hospital was published in the British Medical Journal.
The data used was pooled from two previous large-scale studies conducted in the U.S. These are the Nurses Health Study in the case of women and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study in the case of men.
Both of these studies comprised data on the medical records and follow-ups on 88,084 women, as well as 47,881 men. The timespan of the studies extended over 30 years. By analyzing the data at hand, the study showed that women face an increased risk of developing breast cancer in particular if they consumed as much as one standard drink per day and if they had a family history of cancer.
The same link was found in another study conducted at the Oxford University. For each drink consumed daily, the researchers found that there was an incidence of 11 extra cases of breast cancer in a sample of 1,000 women under the age of 75.
Both studies, as well as previous ones pinpoint the idea that not even light or moderate drinking is a safe option when it comes to the risk of developing cancer.
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