Alcohol increases the risk of cancer
Alcohol consumption protects against heart attacks - but increases the risk of many cancers as well as the likelihood of being injured, a global study has found.
The research - which followed the progress of 114,970 participants for around four years - showed that drinking alcohol was associated with an overall 24pc reduced risk of heart attack.
Moderate drinkers were more protected than either light or heavy drinkers.
But the study also found that compared with not drinking, alcohol consumption led to a 51pc increased risk of developing certain cancers.
These included cancers of the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, bowel, liver, breast, ovary and head and neck.
Drinking was also associated with a 29pc increased risk of suffering injury, according to the findings reported in The Lancet medical journal.
High alcohol intake levels and binge drinking both led to significantly higher death rates from all causes.
Lead researcher Dr Andrew Smyth, from McMaster University in Canada, said: "Our data supports the call to increase global awareness of the importance of harmful use of alcohol and the need to further identify and target the modifiable determinants of harmful alcohol use."