Even one drink a day can increase your risk of cancer by 10 per cent.

The cancer risk is sobering news for those drinking more during the COVID crisis.

How bad can one drink a day really be for older Aussies?

Conflicting reports on whether moderate drinking of alcohol is good for you or bad for you are enough to drive one to drink.

Some experts say moderate drinking is good for you, may prevent cancer and dementia, and may even extend your life.

Then there are studies that say moderate alcohol consumption doubles your risk of some cancers.

Another study shows that it might not just be the alcohol that’s bad for you, the bottle that holds it can be just as harmful, with labels and decorations potentially leaking toxic contaminants into the liquids.

It is estimated that alcohol causes around 90 deaths a day in Australia.

You might think that these stats only apply to moderate to heavy drinkers.

But a sobering new study published in the British Journal of Cancer says that even one drink a day increases your risk of developing an alcohol-related cancer by 10 per cent.

Australia’s largest ever study on the impact of alcohol on cancer risk is particularly relevant because of increased consumption during the COVID-19 crisis.

Although, when YourLifeChoices members were asked if they were drinking more during the pandemic, 84 per cent said no.

However, Alcohol and Drug Foundation research showed that since the coronavirus pandemic began, 12 per cent of Australians now drink daily.

And many of them did not drink regularly beforehand.

According to the study, alcohol was connected to 3500 new cancer cases each year in Australia. And that was before the pandemic.

There are very real fears that if drinking trends continue, these numbers will grow.

At least half of Aussie drinkers at risk think their consumption levels are safe and, instead, identify as light, occasional or social drinkers.

But they’re still at risk of seven types of cancer: liver, oesophagus, mouth, pharynx, larynx, bowel and breast.

Heavy drinkers over 45 – those who consume more than 28 drinks per week – are 41 per cent more at risk of developing one of these cancers, compared to light drinkers who imbibe one to three drinks a week.

Study leader Dr Peter Sarich is concerned about the misconceptions and lack of awareness about the link between cancer and alcohol.

“While liver cancer comes first to mind with alcohol, surprisingly the biggest impact – in terms of population – is for breast and bowel cancer,” he told The Australian Financial Review, adding that alcohol causes 800 breast cancers and 1300 bowel cancers a year on top of the 175 liver cancers.

Medium volume drinkers (seven to 14 drinks a week) increase their risk of developing liver cancer by 48 per cent. Heavy drinkers increase theirs by 202 per cent.

For every 100 people having more than 14 drinks per week over their lifetime, about five will develop cancer due to alcohol by age 85.

No amount of alcohol is regarded as healthy; however, the current National Health and Medical Research Council guideline is to limit yourself to a maximum of 14 drinks per week.

That number is about to be reduced to 10.

Currently, one in six Australians who exceed 14 drinks per week are technically drinking dangerously, says the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, and around 40 per cent of them are considered heavy drinkers.

“We often focus on young people and harmful drinking, but this study sheds light on the risks to older Australians, who continue to be more likely to exceed alcohol risk guidelines than their younger counterparts,” said the chair of Cancer Council Australia’s nutrition and physical activity committee, Clare Hughes.

“It is important government interventions target this population given evidence that more than half of risky drinkers aged over 50 years in Australia do not perceive their level of drinking to be harmful, and instead identify as light, occasional or social drinkers.”

Would you be considered a light, medium or heavy drinker?

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    COMMENTS

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    Circum
    15th Oct 2020
    4:48pm
    My wife considers I drink too much but I only drink 1 glass a day,It shouldnt matter that its a yard glass.
    Youngagain
    17th Oct 2020
    3:17pm
    I'm married to someone just like you, Circum. One drink a day - but it's a full bottle of wine! Refused a script for anti-depressants, telling the doc wine is much safer and more effective. Doesn't seem to be doing much harm and cost is about the same.
    Incognito
    17th Oct 2020
    3:21pm
    Strange I thought that alcohol was a depressant. Might make you happy to begin with but you crash down afterwards keeping you in the cycle of drinking.
    Incognito
    15th Oct 2020
    5:01pm
    Alcohol is poison to the liver, no amount is healthy. So are all those new so called "healthy" fermented drinks.
    Maggie
    15th Oct 2020
    5:44pm
    Proof please that all the new fermented drinks are bad?
    panos
    15th Oct 2020
    5:48pm
    Proof not needed you just keep drinking them and let us know.
    Incognito
    15th Oct 2020
    6:10pm
    Here is a good article and there is a link to an Australian study, I am sure there are more:
    https://www.insider.com/kombucha-kefir-fermented-drinks-contain-alcohol-half-beer-study-2019-9
    panos
    15th Oct 2020
    5:17pm
    Another scare tactic, put out by the wowsers, first it was smokes now it's started on alcohol it's already started on meat so now we eat plant based meat, then they will find too much vegetables are not good for you...

    Where does it end...........you guessed it a healthy dose of COVID 19 to end it all.
    Koj
    15th Oct 2020
    5:36pm
    na....it wasn't smokes that started it!
    It was those bloddy romans with their sewerage systems, then some git that invented armor, then fleming and that damn penicillin, then brakes in cars, then seat belts, then a national health system. Gawddd why won't they let us be!
    ahem
    pedro the swift
    15th Oct 2020
    5:19pm
    Beware of dihydrogenmonoxide. Everyone who drinks this poison dies!
    Sal
    15th Oct 2020
    5:29pm
    HA HA This is in all health drinks, so be warned.
    Koj
    15th Oct 2020
    5:37pm
    and oxygen has a lot to answer for too! makes breathing highly addictive
    littlehelenb
    15th Oct 2020
    5:50pm
    On April Fool’s Day in 2013, a pair of Florida disc jockeys got themselves into a bit of hot water with station management for prankishly warning their listeners that “dihydrogen monoxide” — another name for that life-giving substance we identify as H2O, or more commonly, “water” — was coming out of local residents’ tap
    JB
    15th Oct 2020
    5:48pm
    For Gods sake ! I didn’t even bother reading this article but down here in Victoria they have taken everything away from us so don’t you dare say my glass of wine is off the table . Go away ha ha
    double j
    15th Oct 2020
    6:43pm
    I read this article and decide I needed another drink
    jan
    16th Oct 2020
    1:14am
    I'd already had a few to drink before clicking on to the site
    mogo51
    15th Oct 2020
    6:45pm
    Get sick of the tamborine bashers preaching to us. Stuff trying to cope with all the crap we battlers get served up pass the bottle!!!
    SuziJ
    16th Oct 2020
    12:06am
    Tamborine bashers? Who are they?

    I prefer to drink water, as most other drinks have far too much sugar and aren't too good for my blood sugars.
    jan
    16th Oct 2020
    1:15am
    vodka is sugar free
    Mikko
    15th Oct 2020
    8:17pm
    We're all going to fall of the perch one day, might as well be happy in the meantime.
    Janus
    15th Oct 2020
    8:37pm
    I agree with that sentiment.
    Which is best: another 15 years of moderate enjoyment, or 25 of alcohol free misery?
    Everything in moderation, worked for me so far.

    Actually, I suffer from Solastalgia (look it up) and by that time I am sure I don't want to be around anyway.
    Ardee
    15th Oct 2020
    11:22pm
    My stepdad consumes way beyond what is recommended, he is now 90 years old and plays golf 4 times a week. He is well and truly alive. Please stop the the negatives, when that age is achieved, they can do what they like
    jan
    16th Oct 2020
    1:18am
    totally agree. My dad is the same, good gene's. My brother didn't get my parent's gene's he died of pancreatic cancer age 64
    Eddy
    16th Oct 2020
    12:34am
    The writers are probably right, that one drink (presumably a 'standard drink') a day can increase your risk of cancer by 10%. Now if I added up all the things that increase my risk of cancer then it would be about a 287% chance - not good odds. They now tell me the stuff they sprayed around our sleeping areas in Vietnam was carcinogenic as was the stuff the septics sprayed from aircraft, the asbestos we worked with with without any PPE will give you mesothelioma, the ciggies I smoked (until 1974) are coffin nails, the methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) and trichloroethylene we used for washing parts, splashing with gay abandon, are known carcinogens plus additives in synthetic lubricants we spilled everywhere are a horror story. If only 'they' had told me about all these things 60 years ago it may have made a difference. Somehow, after all that, I do not think a small drink occasionally will increase my mortality that much.
    Incognito
    16th Oct 2020
    1:35am
    Not how long you live but how well you live, you may end up with a lot of health problems so what is the point of suffering for years.
    jan
    16th Oct 2020
    1:11am
    There is 7 health benefits when you drink vodka. When my blood pressure gets high I have a few vodkas and down it goes. If I have water retention I have a few vodkas and the water flows, great relief. If I want to dance all night without pain I drink vodka. My dad is 88yrs and drinks wine, whisky and some times beer every night. My mum as 2 wine glasses of Bailey's every night. They are still alive and healthy. It all depends on the persons genes. Drink is not for everyone. All the chemicals etc in the food would cause cancer. Vodka is pure. i agree all alcohol in moderation.
    Incognito
    16th Oct 2020
    1:36am
    Most people drink alcohol that is full of chemicals, but also their diets may not be the best either.
    Mariner
    16th Oct 2020
    10:32am
    What brand of vodka, jan? I notice lots of choices and a hell of a difference in price. I drink Stolichnaia at the moment. Saw Polish vodka made from potatoes, that any healthier? When I was a lad in Europe spirits made from potatoes were strictly forbidden, maybe that has changed.
    Now what is a good brand available here in Oz??
    sooty
    16th Oct 2020
    8:29am
    And let's not forget birthdays. People who have too many of them run a serious risk of getting closer to death with each birthday
    margie
    16th Oct 2020
    9:20am
    If it's true that as stated in the article '(with labels and decorations potentially leaking toxic contaminants into the liquids)' surely that would apply to any and all drinks, milk, juice, soft drinks, fermented drinks, not to mention medicines.
    Mariner
    16th Oct 2020
    10:34am
    Cemeteries are full of non drinkers and non smokers, never forget that!
    jan
    16th Oct 2020
    10:37am
    Hi Marinna. Im gluten free so I drink a grape vodka CIROC. ON SPECIAL THIS WEEK AT BWS PERTH WA 55.00 USUALY 78.00. The Irish eat a lot of potatoes, they made home brews with them
    Mariner
    16th Oct 2020
    12:21pm
    Thanks jan, shall look out for that. The vodka I drink is from grain so not suitable for gluten free folks, never even knew there was such a thing as grape vodka. Name's Russian meaning 'little water'. Let's drink to that with a twist of lemon.
    jan
    16th Oct 2020
    12:33pm
    Cheers Marina.
    Boof
    16th Oct 2020
    1:21pm
    I used to play golf with a 'bloke', from the Tea Gardens, (Hawksnest) NSW. He served in three theatres of war. Once in the navy
    . Twice in the army. He was 94 way back then. Drank like a fish. Could keep up with the young ones. For all I know he might be still going. That was in 1998-ish.
    Boof
    16th Oct 2020
    1:24pm
    INCOGNITO. Rum doesn't harm the liver. Get your facts right. Other 'spirits', & wine does.
    Incognito
    16th Oct 2020
    2:51pm
    Don't know where you get that information about Rum from but it is still alcohol, why do you think it effects the brain? because it is toxic to the liver. The alcohol industry now use cheap chemicals for manufacturing which makes it a lot more toxic.
    Muttonbird
    18th Oct 2020
    2:25pm
    Rum is spirits just like whiskey, vodka, bourbon etc. They all have very high alcohol content (30 - 60%+). It's the alcohol that damages the liver - and the brain probably more so - and independently of the liver. It's OK if you mix them - there is nothing inherently worse about spirits except their alcohol concentration. Dilute them down to 5 - 10%, and they are similar to beer and wine.
    Boof
    16th Oct 2020
    1:39pm
    It could be worse. Drink water. Then you will go 'RUSTY'.
    jan
    17th Oct 2020
    3:34pm
    My heart specialist said don't drink wine, the sulfer dioxide causes SVT. In Europe the sulfer content in wine is limited. In Australia there is no limit on the sulfer dioxide used. My heart specialist was right, i did experimented with the wines. I can drink Italian red wine without going into SVT
    Incognito
    17th Oct 2020
    4:02pm
    Interesting, they use sulfur dioxide in preserving dried fruit too, unless you buy one's without it or organic,.
    Mariner
    18th Oct 2020
    12:52pm
    Been drinking wine since age 16, coming from Europe it is normal. Today in Australia I drink
    the better cask wine ($20 instead $8) has probably less chemicals in it but of course has a short use-by date. But vodka tastes nice, jan! Need some lemon in it though.
    jan
    17th Oct 2020
    4:06pm
    They always put a warning on bags of grapes saying contains sulfur dioxide. Guess i will stick to pure grape vodka.
    Muttonbird
    18th Oct 2020
    2:18pm
    That's a 10% increase on the base rate, which for bowel cancer is about 0.1% of the population on a quick google. So not exactly a huge increased risk.


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