Forget safe drinking levels - any amount of alcohol could give you cancer. Alcoholic drinks and ethanol are carcinogenic to humans and there's no evidence there's a safe consumption threshold to avoid cancer, the Cancer Council says in the Medical Journal of Australia. There's convincing evidence that alcohol is a cause of cancer of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, bowel (in men) and breast (in women), the council says in a position statement. Drinking alcohol increases the risk of bowel cancer in women, and liver cancer, and, because it might contribute to weight gain, it could also be associated with cancers linked to excess weight and obesity, the council says. It's bad news for those justifying the occasional drink as a preventer of coronary heart disease. "The previously reported role of alcohol in reducing heart disease risk in light-to- moderate drinkers appears to have been overestimated," the council said. Drinking alcohol might have played a dominant role in defining Australian culture for more than 200 years, the council says. "It is also an important cause of illness, injury and death, whether resulting from short-term episodes of intoxication or from long-term, chronic use," it says. The only way to reduce the risk of cancer is to limit your drinks or avoid alcohol altogether.