Drinking alcohol causes at least seven kinds of cancer, according to a review of studies.
Researchers said that even people who drink low levels are at risk of developing the disease - wiping out the idea that a glass of red wine is good for you.
Alcohol causes cancer of the mouth and throat, larynx, oesophagus, liver, colon, bowel and breast, and "probably others", the scientists found.
Professor Jennie Connor, of the University of Otago Medical School in New Zealand, reviewed recent studies and found alcohol is estimated to have caused 500,000 deaths since 2012, which is 5.8 per cent of all cancer deaths.
She said: "There is strong evidence that alcohol causes cancer at seven sites, and probably others." She added the risks are reduced for some cancers when people stop drinking altogether.
The supposed health benefits of drinking - such as red wine being good for the heart - were "seen increasingly as disingenuous or irrelevant in comparison to the increase in risk of a range of cancers."
For every 1,000 women who do not drink, 109 will develop breast cancer. This rises to 126 women for those who drink 14 units or fewer per week, and 153 women for those who drink 14 to 35.
Susannah Brown, of the World Cancer Research Fund, said: "For cancer prevention, we have long recommended that people should not drink alcohol at all, but we understand that this can be easier said than done."