Most unaware of link between alcohol, cancer

Faith Castro
November 9, 2017

Oncologists have the ability to identify strategies to help patients reduce their alcohol intake; address racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual orientation disparities that may place these populations at increased cancer risk; and serve as community advisors and leaders to raise awareness of alcohol as a cancer risk behavior. Overdoing it may lead to cancer.

Alcohol is directly responsible for 5 to 6 percent of new cancers and cancer deaths worldwide, according to the statement.

"Alcohol use - whether light, moderate, or heavy - is linked with increasing the risk of several leading cancers, including those of the breast, colon, esophagus, and head and neck", ASCO said in a statement issued Tuesday, following publication of new materials addressing public opinion on the risks associated with drinking. Heavy drinkers who consume more than eight drinks a day have a 63 percent increased risk of female breast cancer because alcohol increases levels of the female sex hormone estrogen. Alcohol consumption can also "delay or negatively impact cancer treatment", the authors noted.

Other medical groups cited risks of alcohol as possibly being related to causing cancer, but it is the first time this stand has been taken by ASCO.

Therefore, it is imperative to reduce alcohol consumption to avoid serious repercussions in the longer run. "And if you don't drink, don't start".

"ASCO believes that a proactive stance by the Society to minimize excessive exposure to alcohol has important implications for cancer prevention", the statement reads.

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One of the biggest problems with the findings is the reality that most people just don't see drinking as a cancer or major health risk factor unless it's truly out of control.

Light drinking increases your risk of head and neck cancers by 13 per cent, while heavy drinking increases risk by over 500 per cent.

Cutting out alcohol isn't all you can do to lower your risk.

Alcohol causes damage in different ways.

Further researchers propounded in 2012 that almost 5.5 percent all novel cancer contingency and 5.8 percent of all cancer related demise worldwide could be assigned to consuming alcohol. "We also can't ignore the fact that in many U.S. counties a quarter of the people, or more, are binge drinkers".

"With colon cancer, alcohol seems to interfere with the way folate is absorbed, which is a known precursor in the path to developing cancer in the colon", LoConte said to CTV News.

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