Turns Out Drinking Even a Little Bit Can Maybe Give You Cancer

By
Photo: iStockphoto

Remember when Grandma told us that the proper way to freshen a gin and tonic was to add more gin? And how this was the best way to "pickle yourself from the inside out" and live forever? Really, you don't? That's so weird ... because I was totally sure she said that ... but things are kind of hazy. Anyway! A new study published in the British Medical Journal has revealed that one in ten of all cancers in men and one in 33 in women were caused by alcohol intake.

But what's really bad is that you're technically "at risk" if you're a guy who drinks any more than two standard drinks a day or a lady who drinks more than one. Also, a "standard drink" is defined here as a 125-milliliter glass of wine or a half pint of beer. So ... a full pint of beer and you're done.

Researchers studied 363,988 people in eight countries across Europe and calculated that, as of 2008, drinking habits were responsible for about 13,000 cancer cases out of 304,000 in the U.K. Older research had already shown a link between drinking and cancers of the esophagus, liver, and digestive tract. Also, in the last ten years, mouth cancer has become more common — maybe because of drinking. Of these cancers linked to alcohol, the study suggests that 40 percent to 98 percent "occurred in people who drank more than the recommended maximum," says the BBC.

"This is the best data we've got and we're ever likely to get," Karol Sokora, medical director of Cancer Partners UK, told the BBC. "The take-home message is that the more alcohol you drink, some of the common cancers — the four cancers that have been identified — do increase, and that's worrying. So the message has to be 'look at drinking habits, and reduce.'"

Drinking over recommended limit 'raises cancer risk' [BBC]