More evidence links alcohol, cancer in women

February 24, 2009 6:15:52 PM PST
A study of nearly 1.3 million middle-aged British women offers more evidence that moderate alcohol consumption increases the risk of some cancers.

A quarter of the women in the study reported no alcohol use. Nearly all the rest reported fewer than three drinks a day; the average was one drink a day. Researchers compared the lightest drinkers -- two or fewer drinks a week -- with people who drank more.

University of Oxford researchers say each extra drink per day increased the risk of breast, rectal and liver cancer. The type of alcohol -- wine, beer or liquor -- didn't matter.

For an individual woman, the overall alcohol risk is small. The study found that in developed countries, about 118 of every 1,000 women develop any of these cancers, and each extra daily drink added 11 breast cancers and four of the other types to that rate.

The study appears in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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