Alcohol causes seven cancers, top doctors warn

The New York Times

The New York Times

The American Society of Clinical Oncology, an association that represents numerous top cancer doctors in the country, is bringing to the attention of medical world the links between cancer and alcohol.

Drinking in general, as well as problem drinking and heavy drinking, are increasing in the US and affect every segment of society, including older adults, women, ethnic and racial minorities, as well as the poor.

"The role of alcohol drinking on outcomes in patients with cancer is in its formative stages, and ASCO can play a key role by generating a research agenda".

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Ashton said that moderate alcohol consumption is defined as up to an average of one drink a day for women (or seven drinks per week) and two drinks a day for men (or 14 drinks a week). The authors also called for enhanced enforcement of laws prohibiting alcohol sales to minors, and restrictions to young people's exposure to alcohol advertising. "And in female breast cancer, (alcohol) affects the levels of female hormones in the body, and by adjusting the levels of estrogen in particular, it increases risk of breast cancer". As of 2009, excessive alcohol consumption was attributed to almost 3.5 percent of all cancer-related deaths.

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. "However, the link between increased alcohol consumption and cancer has been firmly established and gives the medical community guidance on how to help their patients reduce their risk of cancer".

People who engage in moderate to heavy drinking are at greater risk, and some studies have shown some potential benefits of an occasional drink.

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According to the new research conducted by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), numerous leading cancer doctors over the nation are driving attention to the associations between cancer and alcohol. "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". There's been a lot of talk touting certain alcohols, such as red wine, as cancer-fighting elixirs and superfoods - but these medical professionals reveal a bleak, risky reality of drinking.

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

"The evidence is very clear", she said.

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