Cancers Caused by Alcohol

This may not be the first time that a sinister connection has been established between alcohol and cancer.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) recently released a statement in the Journal of Clinical Oncology saying that even a moderate level of drinking may increase the chances of breast cancer in women and also expose them to the risk of developing esophageal cancer.

This group of nation’s leading doctors also cautions that heavy drinkers are at a greater risk of voice box cancer, mouth and throat cancer, liver cancer, and in some cases, colorectal cancer too.

Dr. Noelle LoConte, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who is also the lead author of the ASCO paper, said that unlike smoking, drinking does not have to be an absolute no-no.

Even though several medical professionals have widely spoken and written about the risk of alcohol in causing cancer, this is the first time ASCO has weighed in on the subject.

Crackdown on Alcohol Advertising

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According to various studies, alcohol consumption is increasing in the United States and it impacts all strata of the society that includes women, ethnic minorities, older adults, and even the poor.

The findings from the recent ASCO survey involving 4,016 adults revealed that there are only a few young adults who associate the risk of cancer with alcohol consumption, even though most of them are aware of other factors that can lead to cancer, such as smoking and exposure to the sun.

The group of doctors at ASCO aims to redirect attention towards evils of drinking and call for new public health policies to restrict the consumption of alcohol. A ban on alcohol advertising in New York’s subways and buses is going to take effect from January 2018, among other such impositions that are in the works.

ASCO is critical of companies that use techniques like “pinkwashing” that masks alcohol products in pink ribbons to increase sales. With reliable evidence that shows a link between increased risk of breast cancer and alcohol consumption, the group wants to curb such practices that promote drinking.

Staggering Statistics

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ASCO researchers also added in the statement that the previously published studies worldwide concluded that 5.5% of all new cancers and 5.8% cancer deaths can be single-handedly attributed to alcohol. The paper very specifically states alcohol’s role in contributing to various types of cancer, more notably breast cancer in women.

Women need to exercise caution as just a single drink a day can expose them to the increased risk of breast cancer, revealed a report that was released by American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund in May.

The report analysis is based the data on 12 million women and two hundred fifty thousand breast cancer cases, establishing a compelling evidence that alcohol consumption enhances the vulnerability to pre and post-menopausal cancer. There is a 5% increase in the risk of breast cancer and 9% increase in the risk of post-menopausal cancer by consuming as little as 10 ml of alcohol!

If you think the key to healthy drinking lies in moderation, think again. Centers for Disease Control noted that even those who drink moderately, such as a drink a day for women and two drinks for men, face double the risk of mouth and throat cancer, as compared to nondrinkers.

The statistics for heavy drinkers look all the more abysmal with five times the risk of squamous cell esophageal cancer and mouth and throat cancers, as compared to nondrinkers. Needless to say, consuming as many as eight or more drinks a week for women exposes them to a higher risk of breast cancer and colorectal cancer. Experts say that these statistics are a clear indication that alcohol has a causal role in cancer.