Nine out of 10 people are not aware that drinking red wine can increase a person's chances of getting cancer, a new poll suggests.
World Cancer Research Fund said that many people are not aware of the steps they could take to reduce their cancer risk.
The latest evidence suggests that the claimed benefits of drinking red wine for heart health are less than previously thought and are outweighed by the harmful effect alcohol has on cancer risk.
The warning comes after a new survey found that 87 per cent of British adults are unaware that drinking the popular alcoholic beverage could increase a person's risk of cancer.
Younger people were more aware of the risks, with 27 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds identifying it as a risk factor, compared with just 6 per cent of people over the age of 55.
However, the charity found that three quarters of people are aware of the link between inherited genes and cancer, even though it accounts for less than one in 10 cases.
The charity said that not drinking alcohol is one of the most important things people can do to reduce their cancer risk, alongside not smoking and being a healthy weight.
Sarah Toule, head of health Information at World Cancer Research Fund, said: "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.
"We know that it can be hard for people to not drink at all so we'd encourage them to be 'alcohol savvy' if they do. For example, add a low-calorie mixer to your alcohol and, in between each alcoholic drink, have a glass of water.
"It's also really important to not binge-drink and to spread your weekly limit of seven drinks over a number of days as well as keeping a few days alcohol-free."
13 ways to help prevent cancer
13 ways to help prevent cancer
Stopping smoking. This notoriously difficult habit to break sees tar build-up in the lungs and DNA alteration and causes 15,558 cancer deaths a year
Avoiding the sun, and the melanoma that comes with overexposure to harmful UV rays, could help conscientious shade-lovers dodge being one of the 7,220 people who die from it
A diet that is low in red meat can help to prevent bowel cancer, according to the research - with 30 grams a day recommended for men, and 25 a day recommended for women
Foods high in fibre, meanwhile, can further make for healthier bowels. Processed foods in developed countries appear to be causing higher rates of colon cancer than diets in continents such as Africa, which have high bean and pulse intakes
Two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables a day were given as the magic number for good diet in the research. Overall, diet causes only slightly fewer cancer deaths than sun exposure in Australia, at 7,000 a year
Obesity and being overweight, linked to poor diet and lack of exercise, causes 3,917 deaths by cancer a year on its own
Dying of a cancer caused by infection also comes in highly, linked to 3,421 cancer deaths a year. Infections such as human papilloma virus - which can cause cervical cancer in women - and hepatitis - can be prevented by vaccinations and having regular check-ups
Cutting back on drinks could reduce the risk of cancers caused by alcohol - such as liver cancer, bowel cancer, breast cancer and mouth cancer - that are leading to 3,208 deaths a year
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Sitting around and not getting the heart pumping - less than one hour's exercise a day - is directly leading to about 1,800 people having lower immune functions and higher hormone levels, among other factors, that cause cancers
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Hormone replacement therapy, which is used to relieve symptoms of the menopause in women, caused 539 deaths from (mainly breast) cancer in Australia last year. It did, however, prevent 52 cases of colorectal cancers
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Insufficient breastfeeding, bizarrely, makes the top 10. Breastfeeding for 12 months could prevent 235 cancer cases a year, said the research
Oral contraceptives, like the Pill, caused about 105 breast cancers and 52 cervical cancers - but it also prevented about 1,440 ovarian and uterine (womb) cases of cancer last year
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Taking aspirin also prevented 232 cases in the Queensland research of colorectal and oesophagal cancers - but as it can also cause strokes, is not yet recommended as a formal treatment against the risk of cancer
The charity surveyed 2,000 British adults about 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.
"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".