Wednesday, 22 November, 2017

Moderate to heavy drinking increases risk of cancer

The New York Times The New York Times
Tracy Craig | 09 November, 2017, 01:21

In a statement released Tuesday, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) outlined research tying alcohol to two types of cancer and told Americans to drink less.

It finds that approximately 3.5 percent of all cancer deaths in the USA can be attributed to alcohol consumption.

Yet not many adults, when questioned, identify the consumption of alcohol as a cancer risk factor, even though most were familiar with other risk factors for cancer, such as smoking and exposure to the sun, found a recent survey by ASCO of over 4,016 adults.

As of 2013, about 73 per cent of Americans reported consuming alcohol, and almost 13 per cent described their consumption habits as binge drinking, according to a survey published in JAMA Psychiatry in August.

The American Cancer Society suggests people limit alcohol intake to one drink a day for women and two for men.

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If a drinker stops consuming alcohol for 20 years or more, however, their risk of cancer reverts back to that of non-drinkers, according to the researchers' analysis.

Heavier drinking is linked with greater risks, the statement said.

Heavy drinkers of both genders increase their risk of head and oral cancers by more than 500 percent because tissues come into direct contact with alcohol carcinogens. "And if you don't drink, don't start, '" said the associate professor at the University Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Noelle LoConte, lead author of the statement, clarified ASCO's statement in an article for the NY Times. The connection between rising alcohol intake and cancer has been substantially confirmed. For that report, scientists from the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund looked at 119 studies from around the globe and incorporated data from roughly 12 million women as well as some 260,000 cases of breast cancer. "We don't have randomized trials, but sometimes when you start looking at the coherence of all the evidence, including the observational epidemiology, the lab studies, the mechanistic studies, you begin to see a picture and get more clarity".

Drinking alcohol has always been associated with various health hazards including development of cancers in the body.

"For the liver it is a bit different: alcohol causes cirrhosis and it is actually the cirrhosis that causes the cancer", she says.

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