Heavy drinking can increase the risk of developing the deadliest form of skin cancer by more than half, researchers have warned.
Downing three or four drinks a day does more than make us careless about getting sunburnt, it causes biological changes which make the body more sensitive to sun, they say.
Even one drink a day can raise the chance of getting melanoma by 20 per cent; for heavier drinkers the risk is raised by 55 per cent.
Researcher Dr Eva Negri said the mix of UV rays and alcohol damaged the body’s immune responses.
She added: ‘This can lead to far greater cellular damage and subsequently cause skin cancers to form.
‘This study aimed to quantify the extent to which the melanoma risk is increased with alcohol intake and we hope that, armed with this knowledge, people can better protect themselves.’
The warnings, published in the British Journal of Dermatology, are based on a review of 16 other studies and 6,251 cases of melanoma.
The researchers admit they do not know exactly how drinking increases the cancer risk. But they found alcohol is turned into a chemical called acetaldehyde soon after it is consumed and that makes the skin more sensitive to sunlight.
Leading dermatologist Prof Chris Bunker said: ‘Brits haven’t always been known for their moderation when it comes to either alcohol or the sun but this research provides people with further information to make informed choices about their health.’
Source: Metro news