People who drink beer and spirits every day face a much higher chance of developing cancer - and the risk could be seven times greater for some cancers.
People who drink beer or spirits moderately - which is less than every day - or who drink only wine, do not run the same risks.
Researchers say they were shocked by the findings, which show a direct link between heavy drinking and an increased risk for esophageal, stomach, colon, liver, pancreatic, lung and prostate cancers. The greatest risk was for esophageal cancer, with a sevenfold increase, but heavy drinkers also face an 80 per cent increased risk for colon cancer, and 50 per cent for lung cancer.
The researchers, from the University of Montreal, used data originally collected in the 1980s for a cancer study in the city.
(Source: Cancer Detection and Prevention, 2009; 32: 352-62).