Drinking a small amount of alcohol each week can raise the risk of contracting breast cancer by up to 15 per cent, it has been suggested.
According to new research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, consuming between three and six small glasses of wine every seven days will increase the chance of getting the disease.
The BBC quoted Dr Wendy Chen of the research team as saying the rise in risk is "quite small", however. She noted alcohol's effect on "circulating oestrogen levels" is one possible explanation for the link.
"This study adds to already strong evidence that drinking even small amounts of alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer," added health information officer for Cancer Research UK Sarah Williams.
She urged people to adopt a "healthy lifestyle" to reduce their risk of suffering from the disease.
This is a view shared by Professor Martin Wiseman of the World Cancer Research Fund, who recently urged people to follow a well-balanced diet "without too much alcohol" and be physically active.