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Just One Drink Per Day Can Open Door to Alcohol-Caused Cancer, Says New Study

08/24/2015 05:51pm ET | Updated December 6, 2017
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Most people don't really think twice about sucking down a cold beer or enjoying a glass of wine after a long day (I sure don't). But a newer study is purporting that this could still be the ticker the starts the cancer counter.

The study, which was published in the BMJ Journal, finds that just one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men can increase the risk of contracting breast, colon, oral, liver and esophageal cancers. The risk is innately higher for smokers over nonsmokers (as is the case with nearly all cancers).

Scientists at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital reported in the BMJ that a study of 136,000 men and women that was conducted over a 30-year period revealed that those who drank more had a higher risk of alcohol caused cancers or alcohol related cancers.

The most notable element of the study was that it revealed moderated drinking was also a major culprit. While many studies have always focused on heavy drinking, this study found that just one drink per day increased the chances of developing alcohol caused cancer by as much as 13% in women. Oddly enough, men who drank two or more drinks per day and were smokers (or who had quit smoking) had a similar risk factor, whereas nonsmoking men did not.

Yin Cao, a post doctoral research fellow at the School of Public Health and lead author of the study, said: "For men, especially those who ever smoked, they should limit alcohol to even below the recommended limit. And smoking and heavy alcohol consumption should be absolutely avoided to prevent cancer."

So while the Mayo Clinic asserts that red wine and resveratrol may be good for your heart, just one glass per day could increase a woman's cancer risk by 13 percent. And if you smoke on top of that, well, apparently you are playing with fire.