New York: Even light to moderate drinking - up to one a day for women and up to two a day for men - may increase your risk of contracting cancer, especially if you are a smoker, says a new study.
In women, just a drink a day can increase risk of alcohol-related cancer, mainly breast cancer.
Risk of alcohol related cancers is also higher among light and moderate drinking men, but only in those who have ever smoked, the findings showed.
No association was found in men who had never smoked.
"However, for women who have never smoked, risk of alcohol related cancers (mainly breast cancer) increases even within the range of up to one alcoholic drink a day," the study said.
Heavy alcohol consumption has been linked to increased risk of several cancers. However, the association between light to moderate drinking and overall cancer risk is less clear.
So a team of US researchers based at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women`s Hospital in Boston, set out to determine whether light to moderate drinking is associated with an increased risk of cancer.
They used data from two large US studies that tracked the health of 88,084 women and 47,881 men for up to 30 years.
During the follow-up period, a total of 19,269 and 7,571 cancers were diagnosed in women and men, respectively.
This large study sheds further light on the relationship between light to moderate drinking and cancer, Jurgen Rehm from Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Canada said in a commentary in the British Medical Journal where the study was published.