Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Moderate Alcohol Intake and Cancer Incidence in Women

Published this week in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, and available to members on the RCRBG website, is the revelation from the Million Women Study, that any alcohol is 'bad' alcohol, as regards breast cancer risk.

Valerie Beral's team at Oxford demonstrated that increasing but moderate alcohol consumption in women was determined to be associated with an increased risk of cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx, esophagus, larynx, rectum, breast, and liver, and with a decreased risk for thyroid cancer, non–Hodgkin lymphoma, and renal cell carcinoma. No differences in cancer risks were observed between drinkers of wine only and other consumers of alcohol

As ever, this could be seen as a scare story, but has to be taken in context with some of the other proven beneficial effects - eg a glass of red wine and its protective effects against heart disease.
If you are a woman who is at increased risk already from family history or a prior biopsy of atypia, maybe you are the one who needs to be aware of this finding and consider modifying your lifestyle.

In the greater scheme of things, everything has risks and benefits - look at HRT use itself, which was the original target of this research