Health Care

Reduced Alcohol Intake May Prevent The Chances of Developing Cancer

Reduced Alcohol Intake May Prevent The Chances of Developing Cancer

Maybe you should skip that glass of wine tonight, because even light drinking increases your risk of cancer, warns a new statement from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). The paper cites evidence tying light, moderate or heavy drinking to higher risk of common malignancies such as breast, colon, esophagus, and head and neck cancers.

In addition to increasing risk factors for certain types of cancer, the ASCO review also found that drinking alcohol can have an adverse effect on treatment and outcomes for patients with cancer. To reverse the trend, ASCO suggests a number of measures to fight cancer deaths from alcohol, including by limiting sales through increased taxes and incorporating alcohol control strategies into cancer patients' care plans. "And if you don't drink, don't start".

The recent study also found, for example, that vigorous exercise was linked with a significant decrease in breast cancer risk.

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

"We are seeing some very alarming trends in alcohol overconsumption, especially among women", Dr. Ali Mokdad, the author of a separate alcohol usage study, said in a 2015 news release.

Less than one out of three adults said alcohol was a cancer risk factor, but most also did not mention obesity as being a risk factor.

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In fact, ASCO reports that women who drank even one drink of beer or wine (which have significantly lower alcohol contents than liquors) were five percent more likely to develop premenopausal breast cancer, and nine percent more likely to develop the cancer after menopause. In one, it converts into a carcinogen called acetaldehyde, which can stop cells from repairing DNA damage, explains lead author Dr. Noelle K. LoConte of the University of Wisconsin. Alcohol consumption is known to increase the risk of several cancers, including head and neck, esophageal, liver, colorectal and female breast cancers.

"Life as an oncologist is all about teaching people about moderation", she said. "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".

If people exercise, eat well and don't drink excessively, they shouldn't worry too much, said LoConte, who said she has about two drinks a month.

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