Drinking Alcohol Really Does Raise Your Cancer Risk, Doctors Warn

Alcohol

The American Society of Clinical Oncology, which represents numerous nation's top doctors, is warning people about the ties between drinking and cancer.

In addition, researchers said that in 2012, approximately 5.5 percent of all new cancer occurrences and 5.8 percent of all cancer deaths globally could be attributed to drinking alcohol. Drinking in general was up by 11 per cent, high-risk drinking was 30 percent more common and 50 percent more people qualified as having a drinking problem.

The real concern is excessive and specifically binge drinking (which is defined as eight or more drinks per week or three or more drinks per day for women, or 15 or more drinks per week or four or more drinks a day for men).

Yet few adults, when asked, identify alcohol consumption as a risk factor for cancer, even though the vast majority were familiar with other cancer risk factors, like smoking and sun exposure, a recent ASCO survey of 4,016 adults found.

To reverse the trend, ASCO suggests a number of measures to fight cancer deaths from alcohol, including by limiting sales through increased taxes and incorporating alcohol control strategies into cancer patients' care plans. Overdoing it may lead to cancer. "The good news is that, 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". Moderate drinkers also face elevated risks for cancers of the voice box, female breast cancer and colorectal cancers.




Liver cancer is caused by cirrhosis, which is in turn caused by drinking.

"If you look at these figures, you see alcohol is a contributing factor; certainly it has a causal role", Dr. Hudis said. The women in the studies who were the most active had a lower risk of developing cancer compared with those who exercised the least.

The society also level charges against alcohol companies for "pinkwashing", or "exploiting the color pink or pink ribbons to show commitment to finding a cure for breast cancer given the evidence that alcohol consumption is linked to an increase risk of breast cancer".

"If you don't drink, don't start", says Dr LoConte, and "if you do drink try to stay under the recommendations of 1 or less per day for women and 2 or less per day for men". While it is okay to drink occasionally (read rarely), you shouldn't be making a habit out of it.

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