Well, here we go. Many recent studies, including one I referenced Wednesday, have lauded drinking alcohol for its heart and stroke benefits. Now comes a large British study saying, “not so fast.” Any alcohol at all may increase risk of cancer.
The study was done in women, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t apply to men, also.
It’s of significance because it included so many women–1,280,296, to be exact, followed over 7 1/2 years.
The more they drank, the more they were at increased risk for cancers of the breast, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx and esophagus. They actually found drinking alcohol decreased the risk for kidney, thyroid and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. But overall, each additional drink per day increased total cancer risk by 15 per thousand. (Thirteen percent of the above cancers could be attributed to alcohol)
Is alcohol going to be the new coffee, with studies showing harm or benefit on a regular basis? Probably not.
The take-home message from this one is if you have a direct history, family history, or any other increased risk of cancer (i.e., smoking), be a teetotaler. If your risk is high for heart disease or stroke, consider continuing that daily drink (I still can’t bring myself to recommend starting—anyone ever heard of alcoholism?)
For all the rest of us, I don’t think the occasional drink can be considered unhealthy. Maybe the risks/benefits cancel themselves out.
What do you think?
Doctors and business owners: Send customized issues of James Hubbard’s My Family Doctor to your customers or patients. E-mail publisher-at-familydoctormag.com for details.