April 21, 2019

For Cancer Risk, a Bottle of Wine Equals This Many Cigarettes

29 March 2019, 09:29 | Silvia Roy

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It said that if 2,000 non-smoking men and women drank one bottle a wine a week for the rest of their lives, approximately 10 more of the men and 14 more of the women would go on to develop cancer.

According to WDIV, the study was conducted by researchers in the United Kingdom, where the moderate level of drinking for men and women is 14 units of alcohol.

For men, drinking a bottle of wine a week increases the risk of cancer equivalent to smoking five cigarettes, the researchers said.

For men, drinking a bottle of wine increases lifetime cancer risk by as much as smoking five cigarettes.

For women, drinking a weekly bottle of our favourite vino increases the lifetime risk of cancer to the same extent as smoking 10 cigarettes per week, according to the study, mostly due to an increased risk of breast cancer.

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"Yet, in contrast to smoking, this is not widely understood by the public".

Dr Hydes explained that by using cigarettes as a comparison the study aims to communicate their message more effectively.

The researchers found that the increase in cancer risk tied to drinking one bottle of wine per week is equivalent to smoking five cigarettes per week for men and 10 cigarettes per week for women.

Smoking is also far more hazardous than alcohol in relation to a range of other diseases.

She added: "There are a wide variety of genetic and lifestyle factors that can contribute to an increased risk of cancer and the study itself is clear that drinking in moderation is not equivalent to smoking". "Our finds relate to lifetime risk across the population".

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Dr Minouk Schoemaker, scientist at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, who conducts research into the causes of breast cancer, said the study offered an "interesting insight" but he said the picture was not simple.

And the numbers of cigarettes "equivalent" to alcohol are small, when most smokers smoke many more a day.

A large glass of wine contains around three units, while a bottle is closer to the 10 mark. This risk appeared to be primarily linked to gastrointestinal cancers.

Saitz noted that there's been little discussion of the cancer risks tied to alcohol, even though alcohol is a known carcinogen.

The authors also pointed out that smokers typically consume far more than five to 10 cigarettes per week - the average smoker in the United Kingdom consumes around 80 cigarettes per week, and the average smoker in the USA consumes around 100 cigarettes per week. "If you're a smoker, the best thing you can do for your health is stop completely, and you're most likely to be successful using support from your local free stop-smoking service".

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David Spiegelhalter, the Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk at Cambridge University, who was not involved in the study, points out that the overall health impact of moderate drinking "is still contested". The higher risk among women is mainly due to the link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer.

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