Nov 10: The American Society of Clinical Oncology has officially called attention to the link between alcohol and cancer, citing evidence that even light drinking may raise the woman’s risk of breast cancer slightly and oesophageal cancer, with heavy drinkers facing much higher risks of mouth and throat cancer, voice box and liver cancer, though it has not singled out wine
Dr. Noelle LoConte, Associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the lead author of the ASCO statement reportedly says, “The message is not-Don’t drink. It’s, ‘If you want to reduce your cancer risk, drink less. And if you don’t drink, don’t start. Other medical groups have cited the risks of alcohol as a possible cause of cancer. But this is the first time that ASCO has taken a stand.
The doctors’ group is also calling for new public health initiatives to curb alcohol use, from taxes to restrictions on ads targeting minors, like the recent ban on New York City’s subways and buses on alcohol advertising slated to go into effect in January. The group also opposes pink washing in which alcohol companies drape their products in pink ribbon to enhance sales by implying theirs is a drive against breast cancer for women.
ASCO researchers reviewed earlier published studies and concluded that 5.5 percent of all new cancers and 5.8 percent of all cancer deaths worldwide could be attributed to alcohol. The paper stated clearly that alcohol plays a causal role in cancers of the throat and neck, voice box, liver and colon, as well as oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma and in women, breast cancer.
For women, just one alcoholic drink a day can increase breast cancer risk, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund. The Report released in May this year, analyzed 119 studies, including data on 12 million women and over 250,000 breast cancer cases, and concluded there was strong evidence that alcohol consumption increases the risk of cancer. Drinking a small glass of wine or beer every day increases premenopausal breast cancer risk by 5 percent and postmenopausal risk by 9 percent.
“The more you drink, the higher the risk,” said Dr. Clifford A. Hudis, the chief executive of ASCO. “It’s a pretty linear dose-response.”
The risks for heavy drinkers- eight or more drinks a week for women and 15 or more a week for men, including binge drinkers — are multiples higher. Heavy drinkers face roughly five times the risk of mouth and throat cancers and nearly three times the risk of cancers of the voice box or larynx, double the risk of liver cancer, as well as increased risks for female breast cancer.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, first classified the consumption of alcoholic beverages as carcinogenic to humans in 1987, linking consumption to cancers of the mouth, throat, voice box, and liver etc. Since then more evidence has accumulated tying alcohol to a broader group of cancers, according to the Report by NY Times.
"Therefore, limiting alcohol intake is a means to prevent cancer," says Dr. LoConte, adding "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."
The increased risk of breast cancer below10% for consumption of one glass daily has always been known through Studies conducted since two decades ago. According to several U.S doctors involved in various Studies and their advice at the Heart and Health international conventions I have attended in California, the risk of breast cancer can be reduced to practically nil by taking folates. Please consult your physician for advice. We recommend a glass of wine daily, for women and two glasses for men preferably with food -editor
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