15 Feb, 2024 @ 10:05
1 min read

Drinking alcohol is the leading cause of liver cancer even if you only do it on the weekends, warn scientists in Spain

Good Wine

AN IMPORTANT part of the Mediterranean diet has traditionally been the belief that one or two glasses of red wine a day are a healthy habit. But this week scientists in Spain have warned that even a small intake of alcohol can seriously increase the risk of liver cancer. 

This week more than a thousand medical experts have come together in Spain’s Madrid for the 49th Congress for the Spanish Society for the Study of the Liver (AEEH), at which they presented the results of a new study. 

The research found that alcohol is the leading cause of liver disease, with 55% of cancer cases in the vital organ related to the consumption of alcohol – even when it is intermittent or casual.

According to the findings, as many as 30% of drinkers are at risk of liver cancer, a figure that rises to 55% if the person in question has prior conditions, such as a fatty liver. 

Good Wine

In an interview with Spanish news agency Efe, the president of the AEEH, Manuel Romero, explained that alcohol is ‘an agent that produces liver cancer, when it is consumed occasionally or in large quantities’.

“There is more and more evidence emerging every day to show that it is not healthy,” he added. 

According to Romero, a third of the Spanish population suffers from a fatty liver, something that is caused by obesity, lack of exercise and the excessive consumption of highly processed foods. 

Data from ??hepatologists shows that cases of cancer in Spain caused by a fatty liver have risen from 2% in 2008 to 12% currently, while one in 10 people in the country have admitted in surveys that they drink alcohol every day. 

To stave off these potential health problems, doctors recommend a Mediterranean diet, but one without alcohol, as well as regular exercise such as walking more than 40,000 steps in a day. 

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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