Alcohol-related cancer study

Moderate consumption of alcohol over the long term can double a person’s chances of developing mouth and throat cancer, according to new research data.

The researchers from the Cancer Council of Victoria and the University of Melbourne came to this finding based on data that followed the drinking habits of 41,000 adults since the early 1990s. Moderate consumption was defined as an average life time consumption of four or more standard alcoholic drinks per day over an average lifetime, compared with drinking no alcohol at all.

Researchers are now appealing to Australians to limit their consumption of alcoholic drinks, warning people to stick to a two-drink maximum if they want to help reduce their cancer risk.

Craig Sinclair of the Cancer Council is concerned that many people still do not understand the risks of drinking alcohol over a life time. “We’ve known for quite a while that alcohol is associated with a ranger of cancers, including bowel, breast, mouth and throat”, he said.

However, Mr Sinclair said the new research is revealing, because it shows that “when people choose to drink alcohol over a lifetime, even at moderate levels – we’re taking about three to four standard drinks – it can more than double your risk of some cancers, in particular mouth and throat cancers.”

Another related problem is that people do not necessarily know what constitutes a standard drink. A poll conducted by the Cancer Council found that the majority of Victorians did not have an accurate understanding of what a standard drink is, with only 13 per cent of respondents knowing the number of standard drinks in a bottle of wine.

The council said that this lack of understanding could be responsible for people misjudging their alcohol consumption, putting themselves at a higher risk.


Amelia Theodorakis
Amelia Theodorakis
A writer and communications specialist with eight years’ in startups, SMEs, not-for-profits and corporates. Interests and expertise in gender studies, history, finance, banking, human interest, literature and poetry.
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