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Drinking Alcohol May Be Deadlier Than You Think, Study Says

Buzzkill! Drinkers have a higher rate of cancer.
Buzzkill! Drinkers have a higher rate of cancer. Photo Credit: Stock

People who drink alcohol are more likely to get cancer regardless of how much or little they drink, according to research analysis published in the journal Addiction .

About 6 percent of cancers to specific body parts are linked to alcohol use, according to author Jennie Connor, Chair of the Preventive and Social Medicine Department at Otago University in New Zealand.

It's not primary research, but Connor said some media have responded to it as if it was because these "well-established findings are not widely appreciated."

"This paper is a critical review of existing research, a discussion of how we conclude associations are causal," Connor said. "The main conclusion is that the evidence that alcohol is a cause of at least seven types of cancer is strong. In contrast, the evidence that alcohol has benefits for health (heart disease) is much weaker.

The liver, colon, esophagus, female breast, prostate, pancreas and skin are more susceptible to cancer in those who drink alcohol, the research concludes.

This information should be taken into account when deciding on the healthiest alcohol policies to adopt, Connor said.

"Public knowledge of the effects of alcohol and cancer is poor, and alcohol industry groups disseminate misinformation to confuse the public further," she said.

The new research comes from a decade of studies from many health organizations, including the World Cancer Research Fund.

Connor said the new analysis doesn't surprise her. "All experts who work in this area know that this is the case."

Click here for more information about the research.

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