Drinking a bottle of wine increases women’s cancer risk as much as smoking 10 cigarettes, research suggests. The British study says that for men, drinking a bottle of wine a week increases the absolute risk of cancer equivalent to smoking five cigarettes weekly.
This is due to the risk of cancer in parts of the body such as the bowel, liver and oesophagus. For women, it has a similar impact to 10 cigarettes a week, mostly due to an increased risk of breast cancer caused by alcohol, researchers from the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Bangor University and University of Southampton found.
The team estimated that if 1,000 non-smoking men and 1,000 non-smoking women each drank one bottle of wine per week across their lifetime, around 10 men and 14 women would develop cancer as a result. And if 1,000 men and 1,000 women drank three bottles of wine per week throughout their lives, around 19 men and 36 women could develop cancer as a result, the study in BMC Public Health found.
The researchers said risks were not widely understood, and they hoped the comparisons would help people to make “more informed” lifestyle choices.
The study, BMC Public Health, found that in terms of absolute risk, the researchers said one bottle of wine per week is associated with an increased absolute lifetime cancer risk for non-smokers of 1 per cent in men and 1.4 per cent in women. Jane Green, professor of epidemiology and co-director of the cancer epidemiology unit at the University of Oxford, said:
“It is important to view these results in context. For both men and women in the UK, the lifetime risk of cancer is around 50 per cent.”