New research: A drink a day increases cancer risk

09 November, 2017, 01:22 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • Cancer Doctors Cite Risks of Drinking Alcohol

"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", said the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in a statement Wednesday.

The researchers also stated that if the drinker ceases consuming alcohol for 20 years or more, the possibility of cancer regresses back to that of non-drinkers. "And if you don't drink, don't start, '" Dr. Noelle LoConte, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the lead author of the ASCO statement, said to The New York Times.

The organization is particularly concerned because 70 percent of Americans don't recognize alcoholic consumption as a cancer risk factor, based on the National Cancer Opinion Survey, which the ASCO conducted earlier in 2017.

Only 30 percent of adults were aware of the link between heavy drinking and cancer, according to ASCO's survey results. The ASCO report puts that debate to bed: "The answer is that associations between alcohol drinking and cancer risk have been observed consistently regardless of the specific type of alcoholic beverage", it says. The statement cited an increase in the risk of cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx and the liver, with a slightly lower increased risk for colorectal and pancreatic cancer.

"What we are learning more about is what exactly the risk is", LoConte said. "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".

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For people who choose to drink alcohol, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that men consume no more than two drinks per day and women consume no more than one drink per day to reduce the risk of alcohol-related harms, including cancer.

"We are seeing some very alarming trends in alcohol overconsumption, especially among women", Dr. Ali Mokdad, the author of a separate alcohol usage study, said in a 2015 news release.

"We're supporting policy strategies like limiting youth access to alcohol, limiting hours of sale, limiting locations of sale, raising the cost of alcohol", she said.

Heavy alcohol use could increase the risk of cancer, pictured is a customer drinking an IPA beer at a brewery February 7, 2014 in Santa Rosa, California.

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