February 21, 2018

Cutting back on alcohol can prevent cancers

09 November 2017, 12:38 | Rodolfo Wallace

The New York Times

The New York Times

The American Society of Clinical Oncologists have released a statement urging drink lovers to watch their alcohol consumption.

Moderate drinking - up to one drink a day for women and two for men - carries a 23 percent increased risk of breast cancer and 17 percent increased risk of colon cancer, the group said.

The researchers also stated that if the drinker ceases consuming alcohol for 20 years or more, the possibility of cancer regresses back to that of non-drinkers.

A large organization of cancer doctors has issued a call to action to minimize alcohol consumption.

Alcohol is not the only important factor to consider when trying to reduce your cancer risk - your genes, exercise regimen, and exposure to pollutants can play a role, too.

"We're not saying no one should ever drink at all - we're just saying if you do drink, even trying to keep it down to less than one drink a day would be a smart choice", Alice Bender, a registered dietitian who is the head of nutrition programs for the AICR, told Business Insider in May. McTiernan is also on the advisory panel that oversees the work of the World Cancer Research Fund.

For the statement, ASCO researchers reviewed earlier published studies and concluded that 5.5 percent of all new cancers and 5.8 percent of all cancer deaths worldwide could be attributed to alcohol.

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It's not every day that a group of the nation's top cancer doctors asks people to curb their drinking.

To reduce the risks, the statement includes several recommendations.

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".

LeConte said the new ASCO statement joins other public health organizations "in recognizing that even moderate alcohol use can cause cancer". She's an associate professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin.

Alcohol is thought to increase the risk of head, neck, throat and voice box cancers because those tissues come into direct contact with alcohol when people drink, the oncology society said. All forms of alcohol; be it beer, wine, champagne or shots cause the same cancer risk.

"The evidence is very clear", 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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