Alcohol, consumed even in small quantities, increases the risk of certain cancers and, what many still do not know, even promotes breast cancer, said Tuesday the French National Cancer Institute (INCa).
Alcohol is the second most preventable risk factor for cancer after smoking, says INCa. In 2015, nearly 28,000 new cases of cancer in France were attributable to it, or 8% of new cases in all locations, according to a study published in the journal Addiction in August.
Alcohol is responsible for 8,081 new cases of breast cancer per year, more than all other cancers: colorectal (6,654 cases), oral cavity and pharynx (5,675 cases), liver (4,355 cases) , esophagus (1.807 cases) and larynx (1.284 cases).
Alcohol consumption in France has declined steadily since the 1960s, but remains one of the highest in Europe and worldwide. In the age group 15 and over, it went from 26 liters of pure alcohol per year to 11.6 liters in 2013, an average of 2.6 “standard” drinks per day. This glass of 10 g of pure alcohol corresponds to the small wine flask at 12 ° (10 cl) or half a beer at 5 ° (25 cl) served at a bar.
According to the study published in Addiction and co-signed by epidemiologist Catherine Hill, a 10% drop in alcohol consumption in France would have prevented more than 2,000 new cases of cancer in 2015. “Scientific studies show an increase in cancer risk from the average consumption of one drink per day,” says INCa. And if the increase in risk goes hand in hand with the amount consumed, “even regular low alcohol consumption poses a risk”. The “absolute risk of death” due to alcohol increases “more rapidly in women than in men,” says the Institute.
Nevertheless, in an opinion issued in 2017, a group of experts asked by the public authorities agreed to propose a benchmark for both sexes. It is 10 glasses a week, about 14 g per day of alcohol, with days without consumption.
The French underestimate the deleterious effects of alcohol on health and the occurrence of cancer, according to polls. They consider it harmful to health beyond 3.4 glasses per day on average.
Breast cancer remains the most deadly cancer in women, with 11,900 deaths estimated for 2017 in mainland France.