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Drinking Little Alcohol-Even Just Two Drinks or So-Puts You at Higher Risk for Cancer

Everything in moderation, save for alcohol, apparently.
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Can't end the day without a drink? If you value your health, it may be time to kick the habit. Turns out, even just light alcohol consumption puts you at higher risk for cancer.

A new study published at a peer-reviewed journal by the American Cancer Society says "overall cancer risk appeared to be the lowest at zero alcohol consumption." The research was done by Masayoshi Zaitsu, MD, Ph.D. from The University of Tokyo and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Zaitsu and his colleagues examined the information from over 33 hospitals throughout Japan. 

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Yes, I overdo it sometimes.

I keep away from the stuff.

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While the study does acknowledge that alcohol consumption lowers risks of certain types of cancer, it counters that light to moderate drinking increases your chance of developing cancer overall.

How high exactly is the risk factor? About five percent for light level drinking at a 10-drink-year point. (For example, one drink per day for 10 years or two drinks per day for five years.) And, it doesn't just affect a certain group of people. It affects everyone regardless of sex, drinking behaviors, and occupational class, too.

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"In Japan, the primary cause of death is cancer," said Dr. Zaitsu. "Given the current burden of overall cancer incidence, we should further encourage promoting public education about alcohol-related cancer risk."

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So, that bit about drinking a glass of wine a day being good for you? Time to rethink that.

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Paolo Chua
Associate Style Editor
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