alcohol, getting cancer

The American Society of Clinical Oncology is warning us that alcohol increases the risk of getting cancer (Journal of Clinical Oncology, online Nov. 7, 2017). What might that mean in practical terms?

What Is the Link Between Drinking Alcohol and Getting Cancer?

Heavy drinkers are far more likely than teetotalers to develop cancer of the mouth and throat, liver, larynx and colon. Women who drink even modestly are more prone to breast cancer. Drinkers are also more susceptible to esophageal cancer.

While more Americans are drinking than in previous decades, few recognize that alcohol can contribute to the risk of getting cancer. Worldwide, more than 5 percent of cancers are attributable to alcohol. The risk rises with increased alcohol consumption.

What Should Be Done About This Link?

ASCO recommends that states screen adults for excess alcohol consumption, restrict alcohol advertising to young people, enforce the laws prohibiting alcohol sales to minors and limit the opportunities for people to purchase alcohol. Presumably, these measures would reduce the number of people drinking.

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  1. Maureen
    South Africa

    Have we thought long and hard about the ingredients in alcohol?
    Can we change anything, maybe its other ingredients in wine for e.g., that are the problem.
    Or the way wine is processed?
    Just a thought.

  2. Frank
    Port St Lucie, FL

    I have no reason to argue what alcohol can do, however, when there is talk of restricting advertising and availability to the legal public, that’s where I have a problem. Government intervention rarely works well. The fact that the gov’t stopped cigarette advertising back in 1970 only proves the power the gov’t wields. Alcohol and tobacco are both legal products; consequently tobacco products should be allowed to be advertised. The same goes for tobacco lawsuits. The data and warnings are all there and yet, to this day, lawsuits are initiated against the tobacco companies. Wrong! What we need is more public awareness about the dangers of these scourges. Everyone needs to take personal responsibility for themselves and not seek out cash rewards for mistakes they knowingly made.

  3. Dip K.

    I am very happy about your suggestion to avoid alcohol but is it OK to drink on normal scale for normal and healthy people?

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