90 per cent drinkers unaware red wine increases cancer risk: study

A poll found that 87 per cent of adults in the UK were unaware that red wine could increase a person's risk of cancer.

The survey found that younger people were more aware of the risks with 27 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds identifying it as a risk factor, as against only  6 per cent of people over the age of 55.

However, the World Cancer Research Fund which carried out the survey found that three quarters of people were aware of the link between inherited genes and cancer, even though it accounted for less than one in 10 cases.

According to the charity abstaining from drinking alcohol was among the most important things people could do to cut their cancer risk, in addition to not smoking and maintaining a healthy weight.

According to Sarah Toule, head of health Information at World Cancer Research Fund, ''It is very worrying, but not surprising, that so few people know that red wine increases cancer risk when there are so many contradictory messages out there.

''All types of alcohol increase the risk of a number of different cancers so we recommend for cancer prevention that people don't drink any alcohol.

''In fact, around 21,000 cancer cases could be prevented in the UK every year if no one drank alcohol.

The latest evidence suggested that the claimed benefits of drinking red wine for heart health were less than previously thought and were outweighed by the harmful effect alcohol had on cancer risk.

In the survey 2,000 UK adults were asked whether they knew certain types of product were linked to cancer, for example, red wine or ham.

Dr Rachel Thompson, head of research interpretation at World Cancer Research Fund, added, "Cancer is a devastating disease and we are working for a world free of preventable cancers. People are aware of some risk factors, such as inherited genes, but not some of the modifiable lifestyle factors that can really make a difference," The  independent reported.

"With so many people being diagnosed with cancer, we want people to know what factors are increasing their risk, such as red wine, so that they can make informed choices to help reduce their risk".