A new study shows that even light drinking can increase the risk of cancer in both men and women who smoke.
The study was conducted in the United States and it involved a team of researchers from Harvard School of Public Health and from Brigham and Women’s Hospital located in Boston.
The results of the study indicate that light to moderate drinking puts smokers at risk for alcohol related cancers. Light to moderate drinking means having just one drink (estimated at 15 grams of alcohol) per day for women and two drinks (estimated at 30 grams of alcohol) per day for men.
It was observed that the risk of alcohol related cancers in women grew when the women were light to moderate drinkers. The results indicated a high risk of breast cancer in women, even if they had never smoked.
Researchers have found that light drinking can increase the risk of cancer in men who smoke. Still, no association could be determined between light or moderate drinking and a high risk of developing cancer in men who had never smoked.
Light to moderate drinking was associated with a minimum risk for total cancer in both men and women.
Even though heavy alcohol consumption has been previously linked to a higher risk for several types of cancer, no study has ever linked light or moderate drinking to a great risk of this condition before.
The researchers were able to draw conclusions after studying the results of two large studies conducted in the United States. Those studies involved 47,881 men and 88,084 women and lasted 30 years. The health of those women and men were constantly analysed during the studies.
The studies were taking into account many factors that could potentially have an impact on the increased risk of cancer, such as age, body mass index, diet, physical activity and the family history that could indicate a higher chance of developing cancer.
Jurgen Rehm, a specialist from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto believes that this study has helped researchers understand the link between light to moderate drinking and a higher risk for alcohol related cancers.
He advises people who have a history of cancer in their family to drink even less than it is advice or to stop drinking altogether, in order to decrease the risk of those types of cancer.
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