Most unaware of link between alcohol, cancer

Alcohol

According to evidence gathered by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), alcohol consumption is linked with an increased risk of cancer and can negatively impact cancer treatment.

"If you don't drink, there's no reason to start". As of 2009, excessive alcohol consumption was attributed to almost 3.5 percent of all cancer-related deaths.

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.

Alcohol use at any level is associated with higher risks for several leading cancers, including those of the head and neck, esophagus, colon, and breast, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

The group warns that heavy drinkers have an increased risk of developing liver cancer, mouth cancer, throat cancer, colorectal cancers and cancer of the voicebox.

If you are a moderate drinker, this doesn't mean you have to completely swear off the stuff.

Drinking alcohol has always been associated with various health hazards including development of cancers in the body.

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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".

"The good news is that, just like people wear sunscreen to limit their risk of skin cancer, limiting alcohol intake is one more thing people can do to reduce their overall risk of developing cancer", said Dr. Noelle LoConte, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin and lead author of the ASCO statement.

"The message is not, 'Don't drink.' It's, 'If you want to reduce your cancer risk, drink less".

"The talking points that we are telling patients and providers is to decrease your cancer risk, drink less".

This is the first time the organization has taken a stance on alcohol and cancer, but it is not the first time the research has found strong links between the two.

The doctors' group that published the statement hopes there's a new public push to downsize the advertising of alcohol to minors and even new taxes on booze.

Heavier drinking is linked with greater risks, the statement said. Also saying, "It's different than tobacco where we say, 'Never smoke".

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