Alcohol cancer risks "underestimated" say researchers

In collaboration with the Press Association

Researchers have warned that many drinkers significantly underestimate the cancer risks associated with alcohol. 

Scientists at the French International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) examined previous studies into alcohol and cancer, concluding that the more alcohol consumed, the greater the cancer risks associated with it. 

Excessive drinking raises the risk of cancer of the mouth, larynx, oesophagus, liver, prostate and breast, they added. 

"Alcohol is underestimated as a cause of cancer in many parts of the world," Dr Paolo Boffetta of the IARC told Reuters. 

"A sizeable proportion of cancer today is due to alcohol intake and this is increasing in many regions, particularly in east Asia and eastern Europe. Alcohol is probably the main factor responsible for increased risk of head and neck cancer recorded in various countries." 

Cancer Research UK believe alcohol is contributing to the 25 per cent increase in mouth cancer cases in the UK since 1992.

In November last year, the charity launched a three year campaign to raise awareness of the early signs and risk factors of the disease. 

Dr Kat Arney, science information officer at Cancer Research UK, added, "You may have heard that drinking small amounts of alcohol can reduce your risk of heart disease.

"But this is only really true for men over 40 and women who have been through the menopause. Heavy drinking can actually contribute to heart disorders."