A Glass of Wine a Day Ups Breast Cancer Risk

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Drinking just one glass of wine may up the risk of many types of cancers, including breast cancer, according to new research. However, The International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research says that studies such as these fail to talk about the various health benefits of light alcohol consumption.

Researchers in the present study, published in the Annals of Oncology, analyzed data available from past studies done on the association between alcohol consumption and cancers.

In all, researchers found 222 articles and more than 150,000 participants involved in the studies. Researchers found that drinking even as low as one glass of wine a day increases the risk of oral, throat, esophageal and female breast cancers. In 2004, about 5,000 cases of breast cancer, 24,000 cases of esophageal cancer and about 5,000 cases of oral and throat cancers were associated with light alcohol consumption.

The International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research reviewed the study and found a number of limitations.

The forum said the present study did not differentiate between people who were teetotalers and those who were ex-drinkers or had a history of alcohol consumption. Cancer risk from alcohol intake usually arises after a long-term exposure to alcohol.

The study also did not consider participants' lifestyle, which may have contributed to the risk of cancers. Light alcohol consumption has many health benefits, including protection from cardiovascular diseases although the study did not mention this effect.

One of the forum reviewers said that studies that talk about alcohol consumption and cancer risk often fail to acknowledge the long term health benefits of light alcohol consumption. Medical Daily had earlier reported that moderate drinking increases the quality of life in the elderly.

"The many caveats are not reflected in the unambiguous conclusion of the authors, and you may be sure that in the near future some public health authorities are going to make full use of the conclusions in their warning campaigns against even light alcohol consumption - without mentioning any caveats," said Dr. Erik Skovenborg, of the Scandinavian Medical Alcohol Board in Aarhus, Denmark, and one of the forum members.

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