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Alcohol consumption linked to 1 in 30 cancer deaths: study

By Samantha Kimmey
Friday, February 15, 2013 17:42 EDT
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Four beers via Shutterstock
 
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A new study has found that alcohol is a culprit for 1 in 30 cancer deaths, reported HealthDay News — or roughly 20,000 deaths.

In the case of breast cancer, 15 percent of deaths are linked to alcohol.

“As expected, people who are higher alcohol users were at higher risk, but there was really no safe level of alcohol use,” said the author of the study, Dr. David Nelson, who is also director of the US National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Prevention Fellowship program.

The study found that 30 percent of cancer deaths linked to alcohol resulted from 1.5 drinks or less daily.

Some studies have found benefits to moderate alcohol consumption. One recent study — which was funded by a beer company — found that a chemical component in hops, which gives beer its bitterness, could curb some viruses. Another study found that moderate alcohol consumption after a person’s first heart attack reduced deaths from heart disease, reported The Independent.

But Dr. Nelson told HealthDay that “alcohol causes 10 times as many deaths as it prevents.”

While it is difficult to know exactly why alcohol is linked to cancer, the American Cancer Society website says that alcohol may cause damage to body tissues, help other damaging chemicals harm cells, prevent some nutrient absorption, and affect estrogen as well as body weight.

[Image: Four beers via Shutterstock]

 
 
 
 
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