Posted: Aug 29, 2022 5:06 PM ET | Last Updated: August 29
Having more than six drinks per week leads to an increased risk of a host of health issues, including cancer, according to new proposed guidelines published Monday.
Any level of alcohol consumption had a net negative impact on health for almost every disease reviewed by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA), a national advisory organization, according to their new report. This includes heart disease, several types of cancer and liver cirrhosis.
The health risks become “increasingly high” when someone has six or more drinks per week. And for women who have three or more drinks per week, the risk of health issues increases more steeply compared to men, research shows.
“The key message out of this project is that when it comes to alcohol, less is better. Everyone should try to reduce their alcohol use,” said Catherine Paradis, senior research and policy analyst at CCSA and co-chair of Canada’s Low Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines.
It’s no secret that alcohol is not good for you, experts say. It’s been classified as a Group 1 carcinogen (carcinogenic to humans) for decades by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
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But not everyone is aware that alcohol use has been associated with numerous health risks, including at least seven types of cancer, Paradis said.
That’s why the guidelines — which the public can weigh in on— speak to the health risks and how that increases with the number of drinks.
Dr. Fawaad Iqbal, a radiation oncologist at Durham Regional Cancer Centre in Oshawa, Ont., who was not involved with the report, said he strongly supports its overall messaging.
“These updated, evidence-based guidelines will save lives. I commend the work of the team that put this all together,” said Iqbal in an email interview after the report was released.
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