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    A Glass Of Wine Linked To Cancer?

    By Margarita Nahapetyan

    Women who drink a large glass of wine every day are increasing their risk of developing breast, liver or other cancers by a quarter, according to a British study that looked at nearly 1.3 million middle-aged women.

    A study, the largest ever to examine whether alcohol increases a woman's risk of cancer, found that just one glass of wine, a single beer or any other type of alcoholic drink consumed on a daily basis, poses a danger. According to a new data, about 13 per cent of the cancers of the breast, liver, rectum, and upper respiratory/gastrointestinal system may be related to alcohol intake.

    "Even relatively low levels of drinking - on the order of one alcoholic drink per day - increase a woman's risk of developing cancer," said a lead researcher Naomi E. Allen, from the cancer epidemiology unit at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. "Because a high proportion of women drink low amounts of alcohol regularly and because most of the increased risk is for breast cancer, the risk among women associated with drinking alcohol is of particular importance."

    For the study, Dr. Allen and her colleagues from the University of Oxford collected data on 1,280,296 women between the ages of 50 and 64, who took part in the Million Women Study since 1996. The researchers examined how much alcohol the participants reported consuming when they volunteered for the study and again three years later. Twenty four per cent of all study participants reported no alcohol intake. The majority of women said that they had consumed about one drink per day, and very small percentage drank three or more glasses on a daily basis. The researchers used the National Health Service Central Registries to identify cancer cases among all the women.

    Over the seven year follow-up of the study, 68,775 of the middle-aged women were diagnosed with cancer. Even among the women who drank as little as 10 grams of alcohol per day, the risk of developing breast, liver, or rectum cancer was increased, according to the scientists. And among smoking women, there was an increased risk of developing a mouth and throat cancer as well.

    The rates for individual cancers varied, with the consumption of one alcohol drink per day causing a 12 per cent increase in the risk of breast cancer, a 10 per cent increase in rectal cancer, a 22 per cent rise in gullet cancer, a 29 per cent rise in mouth cancer and a 44 per cent rise in throat cancer.

    Based on the findings, the researchers calculated that in any group of 1000 women up to the age of 75, who drink, on average, one glass or wine a day, there would be 15 extra cases of cancers of the breast, liver, rectum and mouth and throat, accordingly 2 drinks per day would lead to 30 extra cancers, and so on.

    The study also found that there was no difference in the type of alcohol being consumed. A glass of red wine, which is believed to reduce the risk of heart disease, and a glass of spirits increased risk the same way, Dr. Allen said. She also added that the findings might question the benefits of recommended before daily glass of wine. The scientist plans to test for heart disease incidence and morality rates among participants in the Million Women Study in order to make clearer recommendations. She also wants to investigate as to what impact drinking patterns have on an increased risk of cancer.

    "Only [after] you have examined heart disease in the same populations would we be in a position to comment on the overall risks and benefits of moderate alcohol drinking in women," she said. It will then be the responsibility of expert committees and governmental health organizations to create guidelines for the public. "I think women have to be as well informed as possible and only then can they take responsible action over how much alcohol they drink."

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