The four main lifestyle risk factors for cancer in general are: smoking, obesity, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity. Of over a hundred cancer types there are six related to alcohol and they are mostly associated with heavy alcohol consumption. Alcohol can increase the risk of breast, colorectal, head and neck, liver, and oesophageal cancer. A substantial part of the alcohol-related cancer cases in Europe is associated with consumption of more than 24 g per day for men and more than 12 g per day for women. In men, about 3% of alcohol-related cancer cases are associated with alcohol consumption of less than 24 g per day, and 1% for women consuming less than 12 g alcohol per day. This is unrelated to the type of beverage.
Alcohol can increase cancer risk even at low levels. With breast cancer for example, alcohol consumption of 10 g per day is associated with an increased relative risk of 3-9%. In comparison, using the birth control pill is associated with an increased relative risk of 24%. All statements on increased and reduced risk must be put into the context of the absolute lifetime risk of getting such cancers.
For cancer prevention: Do not smoke, be active and eat and drink healthily and in moderation.
Please find below a list of publications regarding alcohol consumption and cancer, whose abstracts and results should be read in the above-given context.