Increased alcohol use linked with higher risk of cancer in new study

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The study found that people who drank more had a higher risk of all cancers, including alcohol-related cancers, than the group who made no changes to their drinking habits.

The risk also increased for non-drinkers who changed their habits and became mild, moderate or heavy drinkers.

“This is another great example of how behavioral change could significantly reduce cancer deaths,” Dr. William Dahut, chief scientist at the American Cancer Society, in an email to CNN. “The most notable findings are the impact on cancer deaths with changes in alcohol consumption. Individuals should be strongly advised that they can dramatically reduce their cancer risk if alcohol consumption is moderated.”

The study looked at data from more than 4.5 million participants. The study participants were from the Korean National Health Insurance Service, were 40 years of age and older, had participated in a national health screening in 2009 and 2011, and had data on their drinking status available.

“In this large cohort study using repeated measures of alcohol consumption, we found that individuals who increased their alcohol intake regardless of their baseline drinking level had an increased incidence of alcohol-related and all cancers compared to those who maintained their current level of drinking,” wrote the authors of the study from Seoul National University Hospital. “Quitting was not associated with a lower incidence of alcohol-related cancer, but if abstinence was maintained over time, the incidence of alcohol-related and all cancers tended to decrease.”

In those who started drinking more because they didn’t drink, the researchers found a high incidence of stomach, liver, gallbladder and lung cancer, multiple myeloma and leukemia.

They also found that there was a link between a reduced risk of alcohol-related and all cancers and reducing heavy drinking to moderate or light drinking.

While the study has important strengths, such as cohort size and large number of cases, it also has some limitations, according to an accompanying editorial from experts at the National Cancer Institute.

First, the two assessments of alcohol use found two years apart with a maximum follow-up of seven years, and the authors had no details about participants’ alcohol intake earlier in life, meaning they were unable to examine long-term changes.

It also lacked information about other healthy behaviors that might have occurred in addition to alcohol intake reduction, so the changes in risk cannot be attributed to alcohol consumption alone.

There was also no discussion of alcohol-induced flushing and an inherited deficiency of an enzyme involved in breaking down alcohol, which is common in East Asian populations. The editorial authors said further research in other racial and ethnic groups is needed.

Nearly half of cancer deaths worldwide are attributable to preventable risk factors, new study suggests

Despite its limitations, the editorial authors said the study provides “important, new findings on the potential role of changes in alcohol consumption in cancer risk,” suggesting future studies follow suit and examine the association in other populations and longer intervals. between assessments. .

The American Cancer Society calls alcohol use “one of the most important preventable risk factors for cancer, along with tobacco use and obesity.”

The organization says that drinking is responsible for about 6% of all cancers and 4% of all cancer deaths in the US.

According to ACS and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drinking alcohol in women can increase the risk of six types of cancer: mouth and throat, larynx, esophagus, colon and rectum, liver and breast.

ACS also says that alcohol consumption likely increases the risk of stomach cancer and a few others.

“For each of these cancers, the more alcohol you drink, the higher your cancer risk,” says ACS. “But for some types of cancer, especially breast cancer, consuming even small amounts of alcohol can increase the risk.”

“I think it’s very important for people to realize that heavy alcohol use can significantly increase the risk of cancer,” Dahut said. “Unfortunately, while this is not a new finding, this information would be very surprising to many. It is imperative that physicians educate patients about this risk and provide all the tools needed to help patients modify this behavior.”

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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