Light drinking can raise the risk of cancers for Koreans who have less ability to perform enzymatic alcoholysis compared with Westerners, a local report said Tuesday.
The report by Seoul National University Hospital in Bundang, Gyeonggi Province, contradicts the established theory that light drinking can lower cardiovascular disease risk and does not affect the risk of cancer.
"We need to consider the fact many Koreans have the gene family in which enzymatic alcoholysis does not function effectively unlike Westerners," professor Choi Yun-jin of SNUH said.
Light drinkers have 50 percent more chances of suffering from esophageal cancer than those who do not drink at all, according to the report written based on a survey of 9,171 esophageal cancer, 135,382 stomach cancer and 154,970 colorectal cancer patients registered with the National Health Insurance Corporation for the past five years.
Light drinking refers to drinking less than 30 grams or three cups of 20 percent alcohol content soju, the traditional Korean liquor, every day.
Light drinkers also have 12 percent and 5 percent more chance of colorectal and stomach cancer risk, respectively.
Those who drink less than 10 grams of alcohol per day also had 20 percent more likelihood of contracting esophageal cancer while having 8 percent more chance of suffering from colorectal and stomach cancer.
Heavy drinkers who drink more than 30 grams of alcohol per day, meanwhile, are 3.1 times, 1.2 times and 1.3 times more likely to contract esophageal, stomach and colorectal cancer, respectively, the latest findings claimed. (Yonhap)