March 20, 2018

Alcohol abuse could cause 6 different types of cancer

12 November 2017, 01:53 | Darrell Baldwin

Two mugs of beer at a tavern in Montpelier Vt


"However, the link between increased alcohol consumption and cancer has been firmly established and gives the medical community guidance on how to help their patients reduce their risk of cancer".

"Just like people wear sunscreen to limit their risk of skin cancer, limiting alcohol intake is one more thing people can do to reduce their overall risk of developing cancer".

The group is also calling on policymakers to place restrictions on alcohol consumption, from increasing taxes to targeting ads for alcohol, such as the ban New York City has placed for advertising alcohol on buses and trains.

It was also an opportunity, she says, to call for more research into the relationship between alcohol use and disease recurrence among cancer patients, and to address widely-held beliefs that drinking may carry some health benefits outside of the oncology realm. In September, a study published in JAMA reported that high risk drinking - four or more drinks a day for women, five or more for men - has rocketed up by about 30 percent over the past decade. A statement published by the group cites the link between breast cancer and a certain type of esophageal cancer, and even light drinking. "It's a pretty linear dose-response".

In the United Kingdom the recommended guidelines encourage men and women to drink no more than 14 units of booze a week.

The risk for heavy drinkers - defined as eight or more drinks a week for women and 15 or more a week for men, including binge drinkers - are multiples higher.

In the statement, ASCO also endorses public health strategies that could curtail problem drinking and, in turn, alcohol-related cancer incidence.

"If you look at these figures, you see alcohol is a contributing factor; certainly it has a causal role", Dr. Hudis said.

It comes after scientists proved for the first time earlier this year that booze does cause tumours to grow. Several types of cancer show a direct correlation to alcohol consumption, and for something so seemingly innocent and socially acceptable, drinking alcohol can be hazardous.

All in all, LoConte says the statement is meant to hammer home one simple message: Drinking in moderation is fine, but if you don't drink, don't start.

Since then, she said, more and more evidence has accumulated tying alcohol to a broader group of cancers, including colorectal cancer and, in women, breast cancer. Alcohol raises cancer risks. It "shows they're serious about it and willing to put their name on the line for changes in policy, and willing to say that even small amounts of alcohol can increase the risks of some cancers to a small degree".

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