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Alcohol And Cancer – What’s Your Risk?

By Expert HERWriter
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How many of you have a glass of wine at dinner?
Maybe hit happy hour on the way home from work?
Enjoy a cold beer on a hot day?
How many of you know that about 3 percent of cancer in women can be attributed to your moderate alcohol consumption? And 10 percent of cancers in men?

I know you’re thinking that 3 percent doesn’t sound like a lot, however, consider those cancers include breast cancer, colorectal cancer, liver cancer, and upper digestive tract cancer like esophageal and things get serious very quickly. Similar information was reported by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 2009 and yet moderate consumption continues.

What is considered moderate? It appears for a man that’s about two drinks per day (or 14 a week) while for a woman it's one drink per day (or seven a week). Therefore you may want to rethink that daily drink.

Consider that alcohol is also full of empty calories, potentially sugar-loaded, blended with diet drinks full of aspartame, mixed with caffeine, hard on the liver, and not great for your skin. Add with it the increased risk for cancer and I recommend you slow your intake way down.

Am I saying don’t drink…ever? Not necessarily, but it’s important you look at all of your risk factors, life style choices, and family history. That means, do you eat healthy, avoid sugar, skip smoking, have a normal body weight, exercise regularly, get regular check-ups, have a cancer-free family history (or minimal and distantly related), take your vitamin D, and all those other healthy actions? If you don’t, I’d suggest you start soon.

Bottom line is this, keep your alcohol to fewer than seven drinks a week and remember that one drink is the equivalent to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of liquor.

1. Schutze M, et al. Alcohol attributable burden of incidence of cancer in eight European countries based on results from prospective cohort study. BMJ 2011;342:d1584
2. Allen N, Beral V, Casabonne D, Kan S, Reeves G, Brown A, Green J. Moderate Alcohol Intake and Cancer Incidence in Women. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2009;101(5):296-305

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.