Most unaware of link between alcohol, cancer

Fans will be able to buy beer or wine at men's hockey games at St. Cloud State this year

The more alcohol you drink, the more likely you are to develop at least seven types of cancer, oncologists warned in a statement released yesterday. Heavy drinkers face a much longer list of risks, including mouth cancer, throat cancer, cancer of the voice box, liver cancer, and colorectal cancer. "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".

Overall, about 3.5 percent of the 600,000 annual cancer deaths in the US are alcohol-related, the doctors said.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has never before formally addressed the link between alcohol and cancer, but is now underscoring the importance of controlling "high-risk" alcohol consumption to reducing the risk of cancer. The study says, consuming even moderate amount of alcohol or alcoholic beverages may lead to high the risk of certain cancers.

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.

Even those who drink moderately, defined by the Centers for Disease Control as one daily drink for women and two for men, face almost a doubling of the risk for mouth and throat cancer and more than double the risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus, compared to nondrinkers. "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".

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However, a recent ASCO survey found that 7 out of 10 Americans are unaware of a link between alcohol and cancer. It may also be associated with liver cancer, according to Ashton.

However, ASCO has not recommended people to give up drinking altogether and suggested several strategies for cutting back on drinking. "We also can't ignore the fact that in many United States counties a quarter of the people, or more, are binge drinkers".

There has been some debate over whether alcohol itself, or other elements come the compositions of various alcoholic beverages are cancer-causing. They think they're helping to fight breast cancer, but nothing could be farther from the truth, she 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.

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