Casual Drinking Linked to Increased Cancer Risk

It has been demonstrated by recent research that alcohol of all types, when consumed even in moderation, can increase the risk of certain kinds of cancer. This disturbing fact has not been generally known or accepted by the medical community around the world, especially in countries with a strong cultural and traditional link with alcohol consumption, such as France, England, and the United States. But now the ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology) has released a report that definitely ties even a few alcoholic drinks per week to a noticeable increase in the risk of cancer.

This should really not be startling news to anyone who keeps abreast of medical research and science. A correlation between certain types of cancer and the consumption of alcohol has been clinically established for some years past. The most recent estimate, based on statistical medical research, is that nearly six percent of new cancer incidents throughout the world are attributable to drinking alcohol — this is especially true for cancers of the liver, breast, colon, esophagus, throat, and mouth.

The ASCO is now in the midst of a worldwide information campaign to raise awareness among laymen and physicians alike as to the sinister link between even light social drinking and the development of cancerous intrusions.

The correlation is quite obvious; since even light consumption of alcohol is now known to increase the risk of cancer, the abuse of alcohol has a much more devastating effect. The ASCO’s report shows a direct and disturbing link between heavy alcohol consumption and malignant bodily growths. The conclusion seems to be inevitable: even so-call ‘social drinking’, considered to be quite innocent in most cultures, will lead to a heightened risk of cancer.

The real problem, of course, is that many people simple are not aware of this risk and develop social drinking patterns that, while not addictive in any sense, can become onerous to break when they discover the direct link between alcohol consumption and cancer. The ASCO experts say that people have a right to know the complete risks involved before they develop drinking habits that may be hard to break, the risks that even moderate drinking poses, as opposed to abstaining from alcohol completely. The Society likens it to the precautions most people now take against melanoma, staying out of direct sunlight or using a sun blocker, instead of simply going out on the beach for a long session in the sun for a good tan.

The Society is also highlighting effective strategies to discourage binge drinking in younger demographics, where it is all too frequent — especially during the college years. Bars near universities and colleges are being called on to strictly regulate the number and density of drinks served, and to end the practice of ‘Happy Hour.’ They also are lobbying for stronger enforcement of laws against underage drinking.

The alcohol industry has come under condemnation by the ASCO for its continuing efforts to make alcohol consumption appear glamorous, or even ‘healthy’ — as in their initiative to turn red wine into a heart healthy drink.

The bottom line is pretty basic: even moderate drinkers (see here for the definition of an alcoholic) should know that each glass or bottle they consume can increase their risk of cancer, so they should take appropriate measures to have regular check ups and make sure their drinking does not become more important to them than their own health.