Moderate to heavy drinking increases risk of cancer

09 November, 2017, 01:20 | Author: Keith Rowe
  • Fans will be able to buy beer or wine at men's hockey games at St. Cloud State this year

Ashton adds that if you pour more than these standard serving sizes, it counts for more than one drink.

In a statement released November 7 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, ASCO said it has evidence identifying alcohol consumption as a definite cancer risk, citing 5 to 6 percent of new cancers and deaths related to cancer around the world as directly tied to alcoholic use.

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. The ASCO report puts that debate to bed: "The answer is that associations between alcohol drinking and cancer risk have been observed consistently regardless of the specific type of alcoholic beverage", it says.

"The message is not, 'Don't drink.' It's, 'If you want to reduce your cancer risk, drink less". Also saying, "It's different than tobacco where we say, 'Never smoke". "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". 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.

The studies also found heavy drinkers have higher risks of mouth, throat, voice box and liver cancer. Heavy drinkers were over 500 per cent and 61 per cent more likely to develop the same cancers.


Drinking alcohol has always been associated with various health hazards including development of cancers in the body. In some cases, alcohol can convert into a carcinogen that prevents cells from repairing DNA damage.

"ASCO believes that a proactive stance by the Society to minimize excessive exposure to alcohol has important implications for cancer prevention", the statement reads.

The main concern for doctors are the binge drinkers: men who consume four or more drinks per day, and women who consume three or more drinks per day.

"ASCO joins a growing number of cancer care and public health organizations in recognizing that even moderate alcohol use can cause cancer", said Dr. Noelle K. LoConte, lead author of the statement and an associate professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin.

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