Even little consumption of liquor can give you cancer: WHO

Heavy alcohol consumption among pregnant women can harm the fetus, according to another research report.

NEW DELHI | Updated: 12 January, 2023 4:49 pm IST

If you’re too inspired by Pankaj Udhas’ sensational hit ‘ki thodi thodi piya karo’, you may find yourself at a serious health risk. A study by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has found that even a small amount of regular alcohol consumption puts you at risk of cancer.

A study published by WHO revealed that light to moderate alcohol consumption (approximately 1.5 L of wine) was associated with almost 23,000 new cancer cases in 2017, accounting for 13.3% of all alcohol-attributable cancers and for 2.3% of all cases of the seven alcohol-related cancer types in the European Union.

Almost half of these cases were found to be female breast cancers. More than a third of these cancer cases are attributed to light to moderate drinking. As per the report, increasing levels of alcohol use are associated with increasing levels of risk of illness and mortality, dispelling the myth of safe drinking.

Some studies do suggest that light alcohol consumption could have a small protective effect on certain types of cardiovascular diseases in middle-aged and older people. However, several reviews also found that the protective effects of moderate consumption disappear with heavy episodic drinking, which increases the risk of any cardiovascular diseases, the report further stated.

No studies show that the potential benefit for cardiovascular diseases or type-2 diabetes will also reduce the risk of cancer for an individual consumer.

Moreover, heavy alcohol consumption among pregnant women can harm the fetus, according to another research report. “Heavy prenatal alcohol exposure is associated with adverse obstetric and birth outcomes and high proportions of maternal low educational level, psychiatric disease, and lifestyle risk behaviors,” said the report conducted on Danish women.

The research also stated that heavy prenatal alcohol exposure can result in impaired fetal development and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, and has been established as a risk factor for fetal death small for gestational age, and preterm birth.

However, the research also stated there is uncertainty regarding other obstetric and birth complications, and many obstetric outcomes are left unexamined.

Both the research articles were published in The Lancet, a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal and one of the oldest of its kind.

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