Warning as popular drinks ‘increase your risk of bowel cancer by 7%’ even if you have just one a day

Drinking two or more alcoholic beverages per day is reported to increase the risk of colorectal cancer by 7%.

Consuming more than 30 grams of liquor daily is a “compelling cause” for killers, the study added.


There are approximately 42,900 new cases of colorectal cancer each year in the UK, making it the third most common cancer.Credit: Getty
Drinking 2 or more alcoholic beverages a day increases the risk of colon cancer by 7%


Drinking 2 or more alcoholic beverages a day increases the risk of colon cancer by 7%Credit: AFP

A 2018 report by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) highlighted the link between lifestyle factors and colorectal cancer (a type of bowel cancer).

Sixteen of the 19 studies conducted showed a 7% increase in disease risk for every 10 grams of ethanol, a component of alcohol, per day.

There are approximately 42,900 new cases of colorectal cancer each year in the UK, making it the third most common cancer.

According to data from 2016-2018, this equates to about 120 new diagnoses every day.

The disease begins in the large intestine and develops primarily from precancerous growths called polyps.

(2017-2019), colorectal cancer mortality in the UK is highest among people aged 90 and over.

Given that 80% of UK adults drink alcohol, this figure focuses on the UK’s relationship with drinkers.

That’s because a study published in the journal Gut found a link between sugar-sweetened drinks and fatal illnesses.

Adults, especially women, were found to “double” their risk of colon cancer by the age of 50 if they ate two or more servings a day to quench their thirst.

But alcohol and sugary drinks weren’t the only ones with an increased risk of colon cancer.

Other ‘significant positive associations’ with the disease, which kills around 16,000 Britons a year, included eating red meat and being taller.

However, eating dairy, whole grains, and foods high in fiber all reduced the risk of colorectal cancer.

A WCRF study found that exercise and taking calcium supplements also help reduce risk.

In November 2022, experts revealed that eating healthy vegetables cuts the risk of colon cancer by a factor of five, but only for men.

What are the red flag warning signs for colon cancer?

It’s the fourth most common cancer and the second deadliest cancer in the UK, but bowel cancer can be curable if detected early enough, says Cancer Research UK.

Screening is one way to ensure early diagnosis, but there are things everyone can do to reduce the risk of fatal diseases.

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of colon cancer, spotting changes and checking with your doctor can save lives.

If you notice the signs, don’t be shy and ignore them. Doctors are used to seeing many patients with bowel problems.

The five red flags of colon cancer include:

  • Bleeding from the buttocks or blood in the poop
  • Changes in normal toileting habits – such as going to the bathroom more often
  • stomach pain and lump
  • exhaustion
  • lose weight

Intestinal tumors usually bleed and can cause a lack of red blood cells known as anemia.

In some cases, bowel cancer can block the bowel. This is known as an intestinal obstruction.

Other signs are:

  • severe pain in the abdomen
  • bloating
  • constipation
  • being sick
  • I feel like I need to be nervous – like number 2 – but after going to the bathroom

These are all warning signs, but experts warn that the most serious is blood in the stool.

However, they warn that the disease can prove difficult for doctors to diagnose, as in most cases these symptoms are signs of a less serious disease.

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