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Archive for Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Study links alcohol to cancer in women

February 25, 2009

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— A study of nearly 1.3 million British women offers yet more evidence that moderate alcohol consumption increases the risk of a handful of cancers.

British researchers surveyed middle-aged women at breast cancer screening clinics about their drinking habits, and tracked their health for seven years.

A quarter of the women reported no alcohol use. Nearly all the rest reported fewer than three drinks a day; the average was one drink a day. Researchers compared the lightest drinkers — two or fewer drinks a week — with people who drank more.

Each extra drink per day increased the risk of breast, rectal and liver cancer, University of Oxford researchers reported Tuesday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The type of alcohol — wine, beer or liquor — didn’t matter.

Moderate alcohol use has long been thought to be heart-healthy, something the new research doesn’t address but that prompts repeated debate about safe levels. U.S. health guidelines already recommend that women consume no more than one drink a day.

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