Being overweight may ‘amplify’ harmful effects of alcohol – raise cancer risk, warns study

Billy Connolly discusses his struggles with alcoholism

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Another carcinogenic habit is drinking consistently high levels of alcohol; in tandem with excess weight this creates a potent combination.

In light of this knowledge experts have suggested obese adults should be given different limits on how much alcohol they should consume.

This comes in light of new statistics showing obese adults are three times more likely to develop cancer than those who aren’t.

Furthermore, a new study conducted by the University of Sydney has also found high levels of fat amplify the negative impacts of alcohol consumption.

Although an Australian study, the University based its results on the data of 400,000 adults from the UK between the ages of 40 and 69.

High consumption obese drinkers were statistically 53 percent more likely to develop oral, throat, liver, larynx, bowel, breast, and stomach cancer.

As well as finding fat exacerbated the impact of alcohol, the study discovered those with less body fat who drank within drinking limits faced a 19th percent increased risk of developing cancer.

Leader of the studies Dr Elif Inan-Eroglu said of the results: “Alcohol drinking guidelines should consider the obesity levels of people. People with obesity need to be more aware of the risks around alcohol consumption.”

Dr Inan-Eroglu added those who were obese “should consume alcohol cautiously” cautioning the safest level of alcohol consumption was “total avoidance”.

Meanwhile, chairman of the National Obesity Forum Tam Fry said: “This research will be bad news if you’re fat and have a hangover this morning

“Since, mistakenly, manufacturers are not required to put calorie counts on the bottle of your favourite [drinks], many people are oblivious to the quantity of calories they are consuming and leading to cancer

“This latest research is yet another reminder of the damage that alcohol can do to our health.”

Currently the NHS recommends a maximum of 14 units of alcohol per week for adults in the UK.

However, Dr Alison Giles of the Institute of Alcohol Studies says a person’s risk of cancer “increases even with the UK’s 14-unit guidelines”.

Subsequently, doctors say even working within the NHS’s guidelines on alcohol increases a person’s risk of ill health.

In common with other harmful lifestyle habits, the best way for a person to completely reduce their risk of harm is to avoid alcohol entirely.

Going forward doctors say overweight adults should be told to drink less to reduce their risk of developing cancer.

The University of Sydney’s results come as the government enters the first year of its War on Cancer.

Set to last a decade, the hope is new treatments will be developed so cancer can be treated more effectively.

Between now and those treatments arriving, it is key people do all they can to reduce their risk by keeping their weight at a healthy level.

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