Light Drinking May Relate to an Increased Risk for Certain Cancers
The majority of observational studies have shown that alcohol intake, especially heavy drinking, increases a number of upper aerodigestive tract and other cancers, and even lower risk drinking is associated with an increase in the risk of breast cancer. This meta-analysis of 222 articles compared the effects of “light” drinking (an average reported intake of ≤1 drinks per typical drinking day) versus “nondrinking” in terms of relative risks for a number of cancers. The analysis included roughly 92,000 light drinkers and 60,000 nondrinkers.
- The authors found small but significant increases in risk from light drinking for cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx (relative risk [RR], 1.17), esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (RR, 1.30), and breast cancer in women (RR, 1.05).
- No increased risk from light drinking was found for cancers of the colorectum, liver, or larynx.