New research: A drink a day increases cancer risk

Ebony Scott
November 9, 2017

This quote comes from Dr. Noelle LoConte, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who is the lead author of a statement recently put together by the American Society of Clinical Oncology in the Journal of Clinical Oncology about the ties between alcohol and the risks of cancer.

ASCO cited a review that found "the evidence to be convincing" that alcohol consumption is not just linked to but is a cause of mouth, throat, voice box, colorectal, liver and breast cancer.

"People are not aware of this", said Susan Gapstur, a vice-president of the American Cancer Society who was not involved with the position statement.

Alcohol is classified as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Cancer Research. "If you don't drink, don't start".

Only 30 percent of adults were aware of the link between heavy drinking and cancer, according to ASCO's survey results.

The team of researchers also reported that, around 5.5 per cent from all new cases of cancers and 5.8 per cent of total cancer deaths in 2012, could be globally attributed as drinking alcohol.

"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. He said he hopes that this knowledge empowers doctors "to help their patients reduce their risk of cancer".

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All forms of alcohol, whether beer, wine, champagne or shots, cause the same cancer risk.

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).

However, ASCO has not recommended people to give up drinking altogether and suggested several strategies for cutting back on drinking.

Cancers of the breast, colon, esophagus, head and neck cancer are all linked to alcohol.

Alcohol is thought to increase the risk of head, neck, throat and voice box cancers because those tissues come into direct contact with alcohol when people drink, the oncology society said.

"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. "Therefore, limiting alcohol intake is a means to prevent cancer. It is really the heavy drinkers over a long period of time that we need to worry about", she said.

Other reports by GizPress

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