Studies find that drinking can increase chances of getting cancer

ASCO: Alcohol Linked to Several Types of Cancer

Alcohol is associated with 5.5 per cent of all new cancers and 5.8 per cent of all cancer deaths worldwide, including cancers of the breast, larynx, liver, colon, esophagus, and head and neck, according to statement released Tuesday by the American Society of Clinical Oncology. For example, discouraging alcoholic beverage companies from exploiting the color pink or pink ribbons to show a commitment to finding a cure for breast cancer given the evidence that alcohol consumption is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. "And if you don't drink, don't start, '" Dr. Noelle LoConte, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the lead author of the ASCO statement, said to The New York Times.

In the US, it is estimated that 3.5 per cent of all cancer deaths are linked to alcohol, and in 2012, 5.5 per cent of all new cancer diagnoses and 5.8 per cent of deaths worldwide were attributable to alcohol consumption. According to the National Cancer Opinion Survey conducted by ASCO earlier this year, 70% of Americans do not identify alcohol as a risk factor for cancer, and only 38% are limiting their alcohol intake as a way to reduce the risk of cancer.

The group warns that heavy drinkers have an increased risk of developing liver cancer, mouth cancer, throat cancer, colorectal cancers and cancer of the voicebox. Even one drink a day, every day, your risk of breast cancer goes up a tiny amount but not a lot.

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"The link between increased alcohol consumption and cancer has been firmly established", Johnson added. The ASCO defines heavy drinking as "eight or more drinks per week or three or more drinks per day for women, and as many as fifteen or more drinks per week or four or more drinks per day for men". "We also can't ignore the fact that in many U.S. counties a quarter of the people, or more, are binge drinkers". He said he hopes that this knowledge empowers doctors "to help their patients reduce their risk of cancer". "Don't start.' This is a little more subtle".

ASCO's Cancer Prevention Committee called for public education and outreach efforts by the oncology community, including alcohol screening, increased alcohol taxes and prices, and limits on days and hours of sale. She says this "subtle" take on the issue is somewhat less cautionary than the warnings about smoking.

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