I’ve always lived by the motto “everything in moderation!” Well, I’ve tried to anyway. I, like many other women enjoy the occasional glass of wine. Okay – the nightly glass of wine. I never really worried about this habit. It turns out that rewarding yourself with that glass of wine at the end of the day may be doing more harm than you think. A new study shows a serious link between alcohol and cancer – and you don’t have to be an alcoholic to be affected.
The study, which appeared in the April 2013 issue of the American Journal of Public Health shows that about 20,000 cancer deaths in the U.S. a year are caused by alcohol consumption. From CBS News:
Researchers determined that alcohol-related cancer death took away an average of 18 potential years from a person’s life. Average consumption for the group was 1.5 drinks a day or less, and those drinkers made up 30 percent of the reported deaths. Larger amounts of alcohol led to higher risks of dying from cancer. Forty-eight to 60 percent of the deaths were attributed to people who drank three or more drinks a day.
Okay, so 60% of those affected were heavy drinkers – but 40% were not. That’s pretty alarming.
“The relationship between alcohol and cancer is strong, but is not widely appreciated by the public and remains underemphasized even by physicians,” senior author Dr. Timothy Naimi, an associate professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, said in a press release. “Alcohol is a big preventable cancer risk factor that has been hiding in plain sight.”
In the grand scheme of things, alcohol related cancer deaths only comprise 3.5% of total cancer deaths a year. I probably won’t be giving up wine anytime soon for fear of cancer. With all of the other crap we purposely or inadvertently put into our systems – it seems silly for a moderate drinker to worry about. But it’s always good to know when you’re not doing yourself any favors.