Protective or carcinogenic?

DOSSIERS
Alcohol and cancer
Protective or carcinogenic?
Alcohol increases the risk of cancer
Beer reduces the risk of cancer
Alcohol and breast cancer
Protective or carcinogenic?
The final word is yet to be said on the influence of alcohol – and beer in particular – on the occurrence of cancer. For a number of cancers, the risks possibly does increase with moderate drinking. More research is needed to clarify matters here.
On the other hand beer contains phyto-oestrogens that have a protective effect against certain cancers. But here again it is too early to pass judgement.
Up until now most information has been collected on breast cancer, where there is a slightly increased risk for moderate to heavy drinkers.

There is a close link between our eating habits and the occurrence of chronic diseases, including cancer. Thus there is a relationship between diet rich in saturated fats and cancer of the breast, intestine, prostate, ovaries and uterus. However, recent cohort studies have shown that the group with high fat consumption barely differs from low fat consumers with regard to the risk of breast cancer.
A fibre-rich diet on the other hand reduces the risk of certain cancers. The influence of alcohol, and beer in particular, on the occurrence of cancer has not been widely researched up until now. Certain trends can indeed be noted. Some studies point to a high alcohol consumption mainly increasing the risk of gastrointestinal tract cancers.
More recent research into other components (ie. not alcohol), including the phyto-oestrogens in beer, point in the direction of a protective effect.