Light, Moderate Drinking Could Lead to Increased Cancer Risk: Report

A new report from some of the nation's top cancer doctors finds even light and moderate drinking can lead to an increased risk for many common forms of cancer.

What's making it even more alarming is how this could impact Texans.

Texas Health and Human Services reports that about 50 percent of Texans surveyed in 2015 had at least one drink in a 30-day period.

Sixteen percent admitted to binge drinking, and local oncologists say binge drinkers should be wary.

"The binge drinking is really a major problem with people who develop cancers," said Dr. Yvonne Coyle, at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas.

She says binge drinking often goes hand-in-hand with other cancer risk factors, like smoking and poor nutrition.

For colon cancer, a moderate drinker increases his or her cancer risk by 17 percent, and a heavy drinker's risk climbs by 44 percent.

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For breast cancer, a light drinker bumps her risk by four percent and a heavy drinker by 61.

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And for head and neck cancer, a heavy drinker has an increased risk of 400 percent.

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Moderate drinking is considered one drink per day for women and two drinks for men.

Heavy drinking equates to three drinks per day for women and four for men.

Despite what the study says about moderate drinking, Coyle says cutting out alcohol won't be your best bet for cancer prevention.

"There are certain things that we know that our body does not need, and that's cigarettes and tobacco. We know that those are things that we don't even want to get close to. As far as alcohol goes, it's fine. I don't think that anyone has to think that they can't have a drink," Coyle said.

Kristen Costa, of Fort Worth, got her breast cancer diagnosis in August of this year and while she doesn't know if alcohol consumption played a role, she says she's taking the advice on alcohol from her current doctor.

"He said, 'No, let's not do that, because cancer like acidic environments, and alcohol is highly acidic,' so I'm going to listen to him," Costa said.

"This is one of the things, just like my diet, that I feel I have control over," she said.

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