Low Alcohol Consumption May Also Increase Women’s Cancer Risk

Jun 5, 2009 by

Low Alcohol Consumption May Also Increase Women’s Cancer Risk

Also, the women involved in the study had, for unknown reasons and motivations, voluntarily gone for cancer screening. This makes the study sample a self-selecting one, and such samples generally do not present a good representation of the overall population.

Further, the questionnaires used in the study were self-administered, which are generally less reliable than person-to-person interviews. They were also said to be long and needing a significant period of concentration, while they only briefly touched upon the subject of alcohol consumption. In addition, the second survey of the study took place three years after the first round, which is quite a long time lag.


What, then, should we make of this study? The research team is asking women to be aware of the risks and to take responsibility for their alcohol consumption. “Even relatively low levels of drinking – drinking at levels we considered relatively safe for women – increases a woman’s risk of developing cancer. It’s important that women are as well informed as possible about these risks, so they can take responsible action for how much alcohol they drink,” said Naomi Allen, a cancer epidemiologist at the University of Oxford and the leader of the study. She also estimated that “about 5% of all cancer in women is due to moderate alcohol use.”

While the specific findings of the study may have to be taken with a pinch of salt, it remains that the overall recommendations put forth by Allen and her team will probably do more good than harm to the health of women who choose to follow them.


Naomi E Allen et all. Moderate Alcohol Intake and Cancer Incidence in Women. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2009;101(5):296-305.

Alcohol increases women’s cancer risk: study (http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=1324883)

Study of UK Cancer-Moderate-Consumption Paper Shows Fundamental Flaws In Data, Sample Selection, Methodology (http://wineindustryinsight.com/#1204)

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