Top doctors release a warning about alcohol: It dramatically increases cancer risk

In a statement released Tuesday, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) outlined research tying alcohol to two types of cancer and told Americans to drink less. They oppose it given the evidence that shows there exists a link between the consumption of alcohol and a higher risk of developing breast cancer.

According to ASCO, excessive alcohol consumption can also delay or negatively affect cancer treatment.

The authors also called for enhanced enforcement of laws prohibiting alcohol sales to minors, and restrictions to young people's exposure to alcohol advertising.

In addition, researchers said that in 2012, approximately 5.5 percent of all new cancer occurrences and 5.8 percent of all cancer deaths globally could be attributed to drinking alcohol.

As we head into the holiday season, you may want to keep the following findings in mind before allowing yourself to indulge in an extra festive drink or two. Heavy drinking also more than doubles the chance of getting liver and voice box cancer.

Alcohol is directly responsible for 5 to 6 percent of new cancers and cancer deaths worldwide, according to the statement.

The kind of drink does not appear to matter, but experts say a beer or glass of wine here and there is highly unlikely to cause harm.

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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.

Oncologists in particular are in a unique position to identify strategies that can aid patients in reducing alcohol consumption, addressing disparities that may place certain populations at increased risk, and serving as advisors to the community to raise awareness that alcoholic behavior has links to the disease.

"Limiting alcohol intake is a means to prevent cancer", Dr. Noelle LoConte, one of the publication's authors and a professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin said in a statement.

Since, heavy consumers of alcohol meet much higher risk throat and mouth cancer, liver cancer, cancer of the voice box and to the lower scale, colorectal cancers. "It is really the heavy drinkers over a long period of time that we need to worry about", she said.

"For head and neck and esophageal cancers, alcohol's breakdown product (acetaldehyde, which is an established carcinogen) touches the tissues directly as one swallows an alcoholic drink and causes cancer", she wrote.

"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.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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