advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Does Alcohol Cause Cancer in Women?

I know that drinking alcohol raises the risk of breast cancer. Is it also true that alcohol raises the risk of other types of cancer in women? 

A
Answer (Published 4/23/2009)

A new investigation from England suggests that drinking alcohol, even moderately, increases women's risk of several types of cancer: breast, liver, rectum, oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus, and larynx. This was a huge analysis of alcohol use in almost 1.3 million middle-aged women in the UK. About three out of four women participating acknowledged that they drank alcohol. Overall, the average intake was about one drink per day.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Women's Health - Women's health issues such as menopause, PMS and menstruation can often be effectively addressed through lifestyle, diet, and prudent nutritional supplementation. Learn more - get your free, personalized vitamin recommendation today, at Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor.

The study ran for just over seven years, and during that period nearly 69,000 women were diagnosed with cancer. The risks increased with the number of drinks per day, no matter whether the women drank wine, beer or spirits. Women who were also smokers were at increased risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, esophagus and larynx.

On the positive side, the study found a decreased risk of thyroid cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and renal cell (kidney) cancer among the women who drank, but the researchers noted that more study will be needed before concluding that alcohol really does protect against these diseases.

The findings were published online on Feb. 24, 2009, in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. In an accompanying editorial, two researchers from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute wrote that while some studies suggest that moderate drinking may benefit heart health, "from the standpoint of cancer risk, the message of this report could not be clearer. There is no level of alcohol consumption that can be considered safe."

The American Cancer Society recommends that women who drink limit themselves to no more than one drink per day (the limit for men is two drinks). A drink means 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of spirits.

My feeling is that an occasional drink is unlikely to do you much harm. But based on this study's results, drinking even moderate amounts of alcohol daily appears to increase women's risk of several kinds of cancer. Fortunately, it is a risk factor you can control.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here