Alcohol consumption has been linked with seven types of cancer: mouth cancer, pharyngeal cancer, oesophageal cancer, laryngeal cancer, breast cancer, bowel cancer and liver cancer. Heavy drinkers are more likely to develop liver cancer due to cirrhosis of the liver.
The risk of developing cancer increases even with consumption of as little as three units of alcohol (one pint of lager or a large glass of wine) a day.
A global study found that 3.6% of all cancer cases worldwide are caused by drinking alcohol, resulting in 3.5% of all global cancer deaths. A study in the United Kingdom found that alcohol causes about 6% of cancer deaths in the UK (9,000 deaths per year). A study in China found that alcohol causes about 4.40% of all cancer deaths and 3.63% of all cancer incidences. For both men and women, the consumption of two or more drinks daily increases the risk of pancreatic cancer by 22%.
Women who regularly consume low to moderate amounts of alcohol have an increased risk of cancer of the upper digestive tract, rectum, liver, and breast.
Red wine contains resveratrol, which has some anti-cancer effect. However, based on studies done so far, there is no strong evidence that red wine protects against cancer in humans.