Drinking Found to Increase Cancer Risk
Fewer than one in three adults identified alcohol as a risk factor for cancer.
The group is also calling on policymakers to place restrictions on alcohol consumption, from increasing taxes to targeting ads for alcohol, such as the ban New York City has placed for advertising alcohol on buses and trains.
A new study by The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) revealed that alcohol abuse could lead to six different types of cancer.
"In general, for men the recommendation is to have no more than two alcoholic drinks per day to keep your cancer risk as low as possible". A statement published by the group cites the link between breast cancer and a certain type of esophageal cancer, and even light drinking.
They also condemn the alcohol industry for misleading or using labeling to "raise awareness" on cancers, such as using pink labels to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. "And for women, no more than one alcoholic drink per day, and to avoid binge drinking if at all possible", says SLU Care's Dr. Theresa Schwartz is a breast cancer surgeon at SSM Health SLU Hospital.
"The more you drink, the higher the risk", said Dr. Clifford A. Hudis, the chief executive of ASCO.
In the statement, ASCO also endorses public health strategies that could curtail problem drinking and, in turn, alcohol-related cancer incidence.
However, ASCO is not asking people to forgo drinking completely; they are only suggesting a controlled consumption of alcohol.
Other types of cancer that have convincing links to alcohol consumption include liver, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, colorectum and numerous kinds that spread in the oral cavity, according to research ASCO cited from The International Agency for Research on Cancer. "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".
Alcohol does not affect each part of the body in the same carcinogenic way.
The risk is higher for cancers of the mouth, throat and esophagus, since these are the tissues that come into direct contact with the alcohol. The goal of the paper, says corresponding author and University of Wisconsin oncologist Noelle LoConte, is to educate doctors, the public and cancer patients. It "shows they're serious about it and willing to put their name on the line for changes in policy, and willing to say that even small amounts of alcohol can increase the risks of some cancers to a small degree".