May 8/ABC Premium News -- A new study has found drinking just two standard alcoholic drinks a day significantly increases the risks of developing breast, bowel, throat and mouth cancer.

The New South Wales government is releasing the Cancer Institute report, which draws together the results of an international audit of recent cancer research.

The report found consuming two alcoholic drinks a day increases a person's risk of mouth cancer by 75%, and women's risk of breast cancer by 22%.

Cancer Institute chief executive Jim Bishop says cancer is on the increase, and the institute is keen to find out why.

"We don't want to have a general scare of people, but the fact of the matter is that increased alcohol, in terms of the number of average drinks per day, will increase the risk," he said.

"The risk isn't huge: it's around 10-20% per average drink, but if you have two average drinks a day every day of your life, then that's the increased risk you're running."

Assistant Health Minister Verity Firth says the risks of excessive drinking are well known, but the report shows even moderate drinking can be dangerous.

"What this report shows us is that it really only has to be two standard drinks a day before you increase your chances of developing breast cancer by up to 22%," she said.

"So it really is seen as linking what was previously seen as quite moderate levels of alcohol intake to severely increasing risks of cancer."

Firth says people need to reconsider their alcohol intake.

"We want people to make the same sorts of decisions about their alcohol intake as they do about other practices such as smoking, so that they have the information to make healthy choices for themselves," she said.

From the May 12, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash