Alcohol consumption may increase risk of certain cancers, experts warn


While existing studies suggested that, alcohol consumption at a certain level may reduce the risk of early diabetes and is good for your health, a call to action to minimize alcohol consumption has recently been issued by the doctors from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

Yet not many adults, when questioned, identify the consumption of alcohol as a cancer risk factor, even though most were familiar with other risk factors for cancer, such as smoking and exposure to the sun, found a recent survey by ASCO of over 4,016 adults.

The group also encouraged policy changes, such as increasing alcohol taxes, enhancing enforcement of laws banning sales to minors and eliminating "pink washing" - companies using pink ribbons or the color pink, associated with breast cancer awareness, to boost alcohol sales.

"For the liver it is a bit different: alcohol causes cirrhosis and it is actually the cirrhosis that causes the cancer", she says.

"If you don't drink, there's no reason to start".

The team of researchers also reported that, around 5.5 per cent from all new cases of cancers and 5.8 per cent of total cancer deaths in 2012, could be globally attributed as drinking alcohol.

Further researchers propounded in 2012 that almost 5.5 percent all novel cancer contingency and 5.8 percent of all cancer related demise worldwide could be assigned to consuming alcohol.

The risk for heavy drinkers - defined as eight or more drinks a week for women and 15 or more a week for men, including binge drinkers - are multiples higher. In fact, alcohol consumption is known to increase the risk of several cancers, including head and neck, esophageal, liver, colorectal and female breast cancers.

The biggest risks were seen in people who were classified as heavy drinkers (four or more drinks for women, five or more drinks for men in one occasion) or moderate drinkers (one drink for women and two drinks for men per day).

"The evidence is very clear", she said.

"The more you drink, the higher the risk", said Dr. Clifford A. Hudis, the chief executive of ASCO.

The researchers add that the benefits of alcohol - especially the widely held belief that red wine improves cardiovascular health - has likely been overstated and doctors should not recommend alcohol consumption to prevent cardiovascular disease.

"What we are learning more about is what exactly the risk is", LoConte said.

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