A group of researchers in New Zealand found that alcohol may be a direct cause to 7 types of cancer regardless of the amount consumed. Researchers said that alcohol promotes cancer in seven distinct areas of the body.
According to the study, which was published this week in the journal Addiction, alcohol may cause seven types of cancer:
- Esophagus cancer
- Laryngeal cancer
- Orolaryngeal cancer,
- Breast cancer (in women)
- Rectal cancer
- Colon cancer
- Aand liver cancer.
For the study, scientists at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, dug into a decade worth of research on the link between alcohol and cancer. Their research paper included major studies from the International Agency for Research on Cancer and American Institute for Cancer Research.
Some of the research papers had found a direct link between cancer and alcohol. However, the team from New Zealand was not content with just another statistically significant link. They sought to find if there was a cause-and-effect relationship between the two.
The team learned that there is “very strong evidence” that alcohol causes cancer. Study investigators estimate that nearly 6 percent of all cancer-related deaths worldwide are caused by alcohol intake.
Researchers found that alcohol was more likely to produce laryngeal and ololaryngeal cancers. They also found that the larger the alcohol intake is, the higher the risk of cancer.
When asked whether there was a safe level of drinking, researchers replied that there isn’t such thing. Regardless of the type and quantity of alcohol, the risk of developing cancer persists, they said.
A piece of good news is that for those who quit drinking their risk of cancer drops to the same limits as for non-drinkers after two decades.
The team couldn’t tell why exactly alcohol is a carcinogen. They noted that their research hasn’t focused on that issue and that an answer to that question does not alter the conclusion that alcohol causes cancer.
The recent findings are in line with past research which has also found a causal link between alcohol consumption and cancer risk. Researchers also found that people believe in a lot of myths related to alcohol. One of the most popular is that red wine protects the cardiovascular system if it is drank in moderation. The recent study found quite a “weak” link between the two.
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