Most unaware of link between alcohol, cancer

Most unaware of link between alcohol, cancer

Most unaware of link between alcohol, cancer

Doctors said the way to lessen the risk is to drink less or don't start if you do not drink already. Heavy drinkers face roughly five times the risk of mouth and throat cancers and squamous cell esophageal cancers than nondrinkers, almost three times the risk of cancers of the voice box or larynx, double the risk of liver cancer, as well as increased risks for female breast cancer and colorectal cancer.

The new review of past studies on the link between alcohol and cancer, published Tuesday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, found that approximately 3.5 percent of all cancer deaths in the USA can be attributed to alcohol consumption.

Doctors at the American Society of Clinical Oncology have linked both light and heavy drinking to a number of cancers, including breast, esophagus, liver, larynx, colon, head and neck.

Drinking - even small or moderate amounts - was especially closely associated with increased risks for esophogeal, mouth, liver, colorectal and breast cancers, and is responsible for more than five per cent of cancers and cancer deaths worldwide.

Among women, light drinkers have a four percent increased risk of breast cancer, while moderate drinkers have a 23 percent increased risk of the disease.

Therefore, it is imperative to reduce alcohol consumption to avoid serious repercussions in the longer run.

As we head into the holiday season, you may want to keep the following findings in mind before allowing yourself to indulge in an extra festive drink or two.

"People don't typically associate drinking beer, wine, and hard liquor with increasing their risk of developing cancer in their lifetimes", said ASCO President Bruce Johnson, MD, FASCO, in the statement.

"ASCO believes that a proactive stance by the Society to minimize excessive exposure to alcohol has important implications for cancer prevention", the statement reads. In some cases, alcohol can convert into a carcinogen that prevents cells from repairing DNA damage.

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

The recent study also found, for example, that vigorous exercise was linked with a significant decrease in breast cancer risk. "We also can't ignore the fact that in many USA counties a quarter of the people, or more, are binge drinkers".

If people exercise, eat well and don't drink excessively, they shouldn't worry too much, said LoConte, who said she has about two drinks a month.

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