One alcoholic drink per day places women at greater risk of cancer

US researchers have examined studies, which show that women who have never even smoked are at greater risk of developing cancer if they consume just one alcoholic drink per day

Women put themselves at greater risk of cancer by consuming just one alcoholic drink per day regardless of whether they have never smoked, a study reveals.

However, the research, which conducted a literature review of two studies involving nurses and health professionals in the US, has found men can consume twice as much and face no marked increased risk of similar diseases.

In response medical experts are leading a call for labels on alcohol to carry mandatory health warnings, similar to the ones already on cigarette packets.

The Boston researchers reviewed a total of 88,084 women who were aged 30-55 and 47,881 men aged 40-75 when they enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study in 1976, and then those who participated in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study which ran from the 1980s until 2010.

Participants were mailed questionnaires asking about lifestyle factors, medical history and disease outcomes. They also reported changes in diet.

More than 25,000 cases of cancers were documented among both groups and the data matched to the amount of drinking and smoking the individuals had confessed to.

Responding to the report, Alcohol Health Alliance UK chair Sir Ian Gilmore said: 'This research confirms there is no such thing as a safe level of drinking when it comes to the risk of cancer.

'We know that the public are still largely unaware of the links between alcohol and cancer, particularly the increased risk of developing breast cancer.

'We all have a right to know what we are putting into our bodies and at the moment consumers are being denied this right.

'It’s time that this changed; we need mandatory health warnings on alcohol labels so that people know the facts and can make an informed choice.'

Read the report on the BMJ website

This is a free article for registered users

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this? You can register for free access.