WHO said that there are no studies to show that the potential benefits of alcohol on cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes outweigh the risk of cancer, but there is evidence to believe heavy episodic drinking increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
“Potential protective effects of alcohol consumption, suggested by some studies, are tightly connected with the comparison groups chosen and the statistical methods used, and may not consider other relevant factors,” said Jurgen Rehm, member of the WHO Regional Director for Europe’s Advisory Council for Noncommunicable Diseases.
European Region has the highest alcohol consumption
The study also found that WHO European Region has the highest alcohol consumption level and has over 200 million people at risk of having alcohol-attributed cancer.
Amongst them, the vulnerable and disadvantaged population is more at risk because of the quality of alcohol they consume.
“Although it is well established that alcohol can cause cancer, this fact is still not widely known to the public in most countries,” said Carina Ferreira-Borges, acting Unit Lead for Noncommunicable Disease Management and Regional Advisor for Alcohol and Illicit Drugs in the WHO Regional Office for Europe.
“We need cancer-related health information messages on labels of alcoholic beverages, following the example of tobacco products,” Ferreira-Borges said.
Keep in mind that even moderate alcohol use isn’t risk-free. For example, even light drinkers (those who have no more than one drink a day) have a tiny, but real, increased risk of some cancers, such as esophageal cancer. And drinking and driving is never a good idea.
How much alcohol consumption is safe daily?
To reduce the risk of alcohol-related harms, the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults of legal drinking age can choose not to drink, or to drink in moderation by limiting intake to 2 drinks or less in a day for men or 1 drink or less in a day for women, on days when alcohol is consumed.