New Study: Any Alcohol Use Raises Cancer Risk
A new Japanese study has found any alcohol use raises cancer risk.
Previously, a landmark The Lancet study showed that no amount of alcohol is safe. The study highlighted alcohol use to be a leading risk factor for the global disease burden and the level of alcohol consumption which minimizes harm to be zero.
Now a study in Japan has similarly found, any amount of alcohol increases risk of cancer.
The researchers compared alcohol use habits of 63,232 cancer patients in Japan with those of an equal number of healthy controls. The participants reported how much alcohol on average they consumed daily and for how long they have been using alcohol.
After controlling for confounding variables such as smoking, hypertension, diabetes, and obesity the researchers found the following:
- The minimum risk was 0 years of alcohol use.
- Consuming the equivalent of six ounces of wine/ 17 ounces of beer/ 2 ounces of whiskey a day for 10 years increased the relative risk of cancer by 5%.
- With 2 units of alcohol a day for 40 years, the relative risk of having any cancer increased by 54% compared with an alcohol abstainer.
Japanese people are specifically susceptible to alcohol harm because they have a higher prevalence of genetic variations that make them slower at metabolizing alcohol.
Alcohol harm in Japan
The study results are especially important considering the harmful alcohol norm which exists in Japan. Alcohol has invaded work and social contexts in Japan to the extent that people are forced to consume alcohol because they can’t say no to a boss or because they want to build a good relationship with a friend.
IOGT International previously reported on the Japanese alcohol norm and its consequences. One of which is an increasing rate of alcohol use disorders comparative to other developed nations where alcohol addiction is decreasing. Further, alcohol is a leading risk factor for suicide in the country.
As the WHO reports, at 8 litres of total per capita consumption Japan is above the average alcohol consumption in the WHO Western-Pacific region.
Already, over 20,000 Japanese cancer deaths are due to alcohol!
Japan’s alcohol laws are weak and insufficient, with absent alcohol availability regulations and the lack of alcohol advertising and sponsorship bans. But these are well-proven alcohol policy best buy measures that help prevent alcohol-related harm, such as cancer.