Cancer risk can be radically reduced by lowering alcohol intake
A leading cancer charity has backed new alcohol guidelines reducing an individual’s weekly intake.
Breast Cancer Now said the new guidelines would help reduce cancer among women.
The UK government released the new guidance today (8 January) in which it states that men and women should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week - the equivalent of six pints of average strength beer or seven glasses of wine.
They replace the previous ones on drinking, which were set out 21 years ago.
The new recommendations move away from the long-held belief that a small amount of alcohol is beneficial to health.
It says that evidence in support for drinking alcohol in small amounts to maintain good health was "weaker than it was at the time of 1995".
The guidelines say: "There is no justification for recommending drinking on health grounds - nor for starting drinking for health reasons."
And the review warns that the risks of getting cancer "start from any level of regular drinking and rise with the amount being drunk".
Regularly drinking alcohol increases your risk of developing breast cancer
Even consumption at low levels is linked to cancers of the lip, oral cavity, pharynx, oesophagus and breast.
At higher levels, there is an increased danger of developing bowel and liver cancer.
Modelling for the study shows that, compared with non-drinkers, women who drink two units a day on a regular basis have a 16% increased chance of developing breast cancer and dying from it.
Breast Cancer Now’s policy and campaigns manager for Scotland, Lawrence Cowan, said: “We welcome the Chief Medical Officers’ recommendations. Regularly drinking alcohol increases your risk of developing breast cancer. The more you drink the greater your risk.
“Over 1,000 women die from breast cancer every year in Scotland and more than 4,600 are diagnosed with the disease.
“Some things that affect your breast cancer risk you cannot control, like getting older. However, alcohol is one of the most important factors and one you can do something about.”