Kevin from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia asked:

Is it true that there is a real risk of getting cancer from alcohol, even low to moderate consumption?

Drinking alcohol and cancer

I heard that even moderate alcohol consumption can cause cancer and that the public is ignorant of this information in the same way that we used to be ignorant of the connection between smoking and cancer. Is that true?

The source:
Our answer

Alcohol causes more cancer deaths in Australia than melanoma, yet public awareness of the link between alcohol consumption and cancer is relatively low. There is convincing evidence that alcohol causes cancers of the breast, bowel (in men), mouth, pharynx, larynx and oesophagus. Alcohol probably causes liver cancer in men and women, and bowel cancer in women. There is a dose-response relationship between alcohol and cancer, meaning the more you drink, the higher your risk of developing an alcohol-related cancer. However, even moderate alcohol consumption may increase your risk of cancer, particularly if you drink regularly over a long period. There is no safe level of alcohol consumption when it comes to cancer. Unfortunately there is still low public awareness that alcohol causes cancer. For those who do drink, we recommend sticking to the National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines of no more than two standard drinks a day.

This page was last updated on: June 20, 2012

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