Alcohol is a causal factor in more than 60 medical conditions
According to Alcohol Change UK Alcohol is a causal factor in more than 60 medical conditions, including: mouth, throat, stomach, liver and breast cancers; high blood pressure, cirrhosis of the liver; and depression.
Hospital admissions due to alcoholic liver disease in England have increased by 43% in the last 10 years.
Drinking alcohol is a risk factor contributing to seven types of cancer.
The more alcohol you drink, the greater the risk. The evidence shows that any amount of alcohol can increase the risk of cancer, but drinking 14 units a week or less will keep the risk low.
Any amount of alcohol increases the risk of:
- Mouth cancer
- Upper throat and voice box cancer
- Food pipe (oesophagus) cancer
- Breast cancer
Drinking two or more drinks per day (around 3.5 units) increases the risk of:
- Colorectal cancer
Drinking three or more drinks per day (around five units) increases the risk of:
- Stomach cancer
- Liver cancer
Alcohol increases the risk of these cancers by different amounts. If you were drinking every day, every 10 grams of pure alcohol (around one drink or 1.25 units) would increase the risk of these cancers by the following amounts, compared to if you were not drinking:
- Mouth and throat cancer by around 15%
- Oesophagus cancer by 25%
- Breast cancer by 7%
- Colorectal cancer by 7%
- Liver cancer by 4%
- Stomach cancer by 2%
Can I reduce the risk?
The evidence shows that any amount of alcohol can increase the risk of cancer, but drinking within the guidelines will keep the risk low.
The UK guidelines recommend you drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week, spread evenly over three or more days and with a few days off. Fourteen units is roughly equivalent to six pints of beer or one and a half bottles of wine.
Source: Alcohol Change UK