The study, of over a million middle-aged women, found that each daily alcoholic drink significantly increased the risk of cancers of the breast, liver and rectum. In women who also smoked, it increased the risk of cancers of the mouth and throat.
The researchers, from the University of Oxford, calculated that for every additional drink regularly consumed each day there would be about 15 extra cases of these cancers diagnosed for every 1,000 women up to the age of 75.
Lead researcher Dr Naomi Allen said: ‘These findings suggest that even relatively low levels of drinking – about one or two alcoholic drinks every day – increase a woman’s risk of developing cancer of the breast, liver and rectum, and in smokers, cancers of the mouth and throat.’
Sara Hiom, director of health information at Cancer Research UK, added: ‘This latest study shows that even relatively low levels of drinking increase a woman’s risk.
‘It is important that women are as well informed as possible so they can take responsible decisions over how much alcohol they drink.’
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