Wine and cancer. Shock! Horreur!

Posted by Martin Field on 11 May 2008 in Wine

Latest news reports suggest that drinking two glasses of wine a day can increase your risk of mouth cancer by up to 75 per cent. See, for example, Cancer drinking danger.

Hardly a day goes by without one of these scientific horror stories. And if it’s not a horror story then it’s wine as a miraculous cure-all.


It seems to me that if this latest scientific research about mouth cancer is accurate then there must be ample epedemiological evidence to support it.

Now I’m no scientist but if I wanted to find links between wine and cancer I would investigate populations where wine is and has been consumed in quantity for many years, even centuries. For example, in wine growing regions.

I have visited wineries in Europe, the US and Australia over a number of decades and met hundreds of wine makers, merchants, winery workers and the like – all of whom I assume consume more wine each day than members of the general population.

To my knowledge I have never met one with mouth cancer. Personal observation is hardly scientific analysis I know. But if the reported figures are correct I’d expect to have met any number of sufferers on my travels.

Tags: cancer, Wine

1 Comment on “Wine and cancer. Shock! Horreur!”

  1. Mike Tommasi says:

    every day the BBC punctuates their news bursts with ads and little fluff science blurbs about something terrifying but almost meaningless. One recent one was about paracetamol reducing the risk of something or other. I can just see the thousands of people going out to buy paracetamol an then developing an ulcer or something like that.

    In the article you mentioned, the question is, the risk is raised 75% from WHAT level? This could mean that instead of one chance in 1 million you now have almost two… in which case big deal… or is it much higher? Relative measures like that are meaningless if you dont know the baseline. But it makes good filler for today’s media.

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