A recent study shows that consuming alcohol can increase cancer risk, and specific ages and genders are more at risk than others.
The National Health and Medical Research Council, or NHMRC, found that even one drink containing alcohol consumed each day can mean a woman is more at risk for cancer. The same is not true for men.
In order to see a comparable risk for cancer, men have to drink more than two drinks in a 24-hour period and smoke. However, one out of two men develop cancer by the age of 85, compared to only one out of three women.
Women More at Risk for Cancer From Alcohol Consumption
For women, the highest risk is breast cancer, while men face colorectal cancer most commonly. This is a result of a study that included over 88,000 women and 47,000 men.
All participants discussed not only how many alcoholic drinks they consumed but also whether they smoked in order to provide data for a possible correlation between drinking and smoking and increased risk of cancer.
For women, the statistics say that a woman who drinks 5 to 14 grams of alcohol each day has a 13% increased risk of breast cancer specifically.
Women over the age of 65 that drink have an even higher risk for breast cancer, as do those that binge drink. Worldwide, the estimate is that drinking alcohol is the cause of cancer in 1.7% of the diagnosed cases.
Guidelines Say Only Two Drinks Per Day
The recommendation from the NHMRC is that healthy men and women limit their consumption of alcoholic beverages to two per day to minimize the risk of a serious illness like cancer. The type of alcoholic beverage has no bearing on the potential risk level. This is because ethanol, an ingredient in all alcoholic beverages, is the agent that causes cancer.
While breast cancer is most common in women and colorectal cancer is most common in men who consume greater amounts of alcohol, drinking alcohol also increases the risk of mouth, throat, esophagus and liver cancer, as well as cancer of the voice box.
This is for both genders. More than 5,000 cases of cancer annually are associated with long-term drinking in the cancer patient.
For every 1,000 women, each additional drink they choose to consume on a daily basis will contribute to breast cancer in an additional 11 women, while an additional woman out of 1,000 would get cancer in the oral cavity or pharynx and .7 women in the 1,000 would be diagnosed with liver or esophageal cancer. One additional woman in 1,000 would get cancer of the rectum based on that one additional drink per day as well.
An intriguing and yet disheartening fact is that despite all this information, many people are as yet unaware that by choosing to limit their alcohol consumption, they could decrease their risk of cancer as well. The information is available but not widely learned by society.