Does drinking alcohol cause cancer? Learn about the risks

Source: Author: Jim Stallard, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center The public is largely unaware of the link between alcohol consumption and increased cancer risk. Mixed messages from experts may have added to the confusion. There is strong and consistent evidence that drinking alcohol increases your risk of developing a cancer, based on a growing body of research. Alcohol is estimated to account for 6% of cancer cases in the U.S. — more than 75,000 per year — and nearly 19,000 cancer deaths, according to the American Cancer Society. Alcohol is the third biggest controllable risk factor for the disease, after tobacco smoking and excess weight. But most Americans aren’t aware of this link, thanks to seemingly contradictory research and mixed messaging from public health experts. A study published in 2023 found widespread mistaken beliefs that the risk varies by beverage type, with the lowest cancer risk assigned to wine. Another study published in 2021 showed that nearly 70% of people did not even know that alcohol was a cancer risk factor. It’s disturbing that most people aren’t aware of the connection,” says Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) psychologist Jennifer Hay, PhD, who studies how people perceive various cancer risks. “It’s startling, given that many members of the general population are genuinely concerned about their cancer risks. We clearly have a lot of work to do to raise awareness and change the perception.” More cancers could be prevented, she says, if people fully understood the risks of [...]

Dry January might help reduce your risk of cancer

Source: Author: Holly Large, Editorial Assistant If one of your New Year’s resolutions happens to be staying sober, scientists at the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) have some good news for you: not drinking alcohol, or even just cutting back on the bevs, can reduce your risk of some cancers. There’s already evidence to suggest that alcohol consumption can increase the risk of some cancers; according to WHO estimates, more than 740,000 global cancer cases in 2020 were caused by alcohol use. But as report author Farhad Islami told STAT News, “[W]e wanted to know, what if people stop drinking?” Islami was part of a group of 15 scientists investigating the impact of reducing or ceasing alcohol intake on cancer risk, reviewing over 90 published studies over the course of four months. From this data, the team discovered that there was sufficient evidence to suggest that cutting back on alcohol could be linked to a reduced risk of oral and oesophageal cancers. There was also limited evidence of a reduction in risk for laryngeal, colorectal, and breast cancers. One of the key contributors to risk, the researchers found, was a toxin called acetaldehyde. Also known as ethanal, acetaldehyde is produced by the breakdown of alcohol in the liver. It plays a role in nasty hangovers and, as the studies suggested, increases someone’s risk of cancer. Drinking less alcohol reduces exposure to such a carcinogen and thus, the risks that come with it. In [...]

Going sober beyond Dry January will help you avoid cancer: study

Source: Author: Mansur Shaheen More than half of 18- to 34-year-olds believe drinking in moderation is bad for your health. Getty Images Having a Dry January may feel great, but going sober forever could significantly drop your risk of developing multiple types of cancer, according to a new World Health Organization (WHO) study. In a massive meta-analysis of 91 studies, published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found long term sobriety could significantly reduce risk of oral or esophageal cancer. They also found relatively small and inconclusive drops in larynx, colorectal or breast cancer risk. The WHO considers alcohol a carcinogen, saying that “when it comes to alcohol consumption, there is no safe amount that does not affect health.” It says that even light use of alcohol is linked to an increased risk of a host of diseases, including cancer, liver issues, Alzheimer’s and more. On the flip side, quitting alcohol can help a person reduce their risk of developing disease. In the new study, the WHO researchers found that people who stopped drinking for five to nine years were 34% less likely to develop oral cancer. If they kept it up for 10 to 19 years, the risk would drop 55%. For esophageal cancer, the risk drops 15% after going sober for five to nine years, and 65% for 10 to 19 years. The researchers blame the cancers linked to alcohol consumption on ethanol, a type of alcohol. When the body consumes [...]

2023-12-30T11:26:11-07:00December, 2023|Oral Cancer News|

High-risk sexual behavior alone may not increase risk for oropharyngeal cancer

Source: Author: Matthew Shinkle High-risk sexual behavior may not be the primary contributor to the development of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma, according to data published in Cancers. Although patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma appear more likely to self-report having their first sexual intercourse before age 18 years, study findings did not show an association between high-risk sexual behavior and the disease, researchers wrote. “The consistent absence of high-risk sexual behavior in the overwhelming majority of HPV-driven oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas stands against the argument of a lowered frequency of HPV-driven oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma in our cohort ... that would have lowered the chance to detect an impact on high-risk sexual behavior on the development of HPV-driven oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma,” Gunnar Wichmann, PhD, head of the ENT ResearchLab at University of Leipzig Medical Center, and colleagues wrote. Background and methodology Certain studies have provided evidence to establish a potential link between high-risk sexual behavior, the persistence of HPV DNA in saliva and the presence of oncogenic high-risk HPV subtypes in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma. Researchers conducted a case-control study of patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma and propensity score-matched unaffected controls from a large population-based German cohort study. The investigators interviewed patients and provided them with questionnaires on main risk factors — including age, sex, tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption — as well as logging information regarding sexual behavior categories. The study included 329 patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, of whom 317 patients answered [...]

5 major risk factors for head and neck cancers are within your control

Source: Author: Lisa Aubry, Loma Linda University Health While head and neck cancers represent a broad category for numerous cancers, a set of five controllable risk factors contribute to most head and neck cancers, says Jared Inman, MD, a head and neck surgical oncologist at Loma Linda University Health. For April’s Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month, Inman outlines how reducing these five risks in your life can help prevent head and neck cancers. Head and neck cancers, those cancers occurring above the shoulder bones not including brain cancers, occur in the voice box, throat, tongue, mouth, sinus, nose, ear, eyes, as well as other places. Squamous cell cancers are by far the most common types of head and neck cancers, says Inman, and can happen in any location of the head and neck. Therefore, the risk factors and Inman's prevention tips pertain especially to squamous cell cancers. TOBACCO AND ALCOHOL Tobacco, which includes secondhand smoke and smokeless tobacco, is the number one stand-alone risk factor for head and neck cancers, Inman says, with alcohol consumption a close runner-up. Additionally, he says combined tobacco and alcohol use places people at a greater risk of developing these cancers than those who use tobacco or alcohol alone. Most head and neck squamous cell carcinomas of the mouth and voice box are caused by tobacco and alcohol use, according to the National Cancer Institute. “Head and neck cancers are almost always tied to smoking and drinking alcohol,” says Inman. Quitting smoking and [...]

Few Americans are aware of links between alcohol and cancer risk

Source: Author: American Association for Cancer Research staff Despite conclusive research that shows that all alcoholic beverages, including wine, increase the risk of many types of cancer, Americans demonstrated low awareness of this risk, and some perceived alcohol as having health benefits, according to results published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. Awareness varied significantly for various types of alcohol, the study showed. “Alcohol is a leading modifiable risk factor for cancer in the United States and previous research has shown that most Americans don’t know this,” said the study’s lead author, Andrew Seidenberg, MPH, PhD, who conducted this research while serving as a Cancer Prevention Fellow at the National Cancer Institute. Seidenberg cited research that shows that alcohol contributed to an average of more than 75,000 cancer cases and almost 19,000 cancer deaths per year between 2013-2016. All beverage types containing ethanol, such as wine, beer, and liquor, increase cancer risk. To date, seven cancer types have been linked to alcohol consumption, including cancers of the breast, mouth, and colon. To assess Americans’ awareness of the links between alcohol and cancer, Seidenberg and colleagues analyzed data from the 2020 Health Information National Trends Survey 5 Cycle 4, encompassing survey responses from 3,865 adults. Respondents were asked, “In your opinion, how much does drinking the following types of alcohol affect the risk of getting cancer?” Responses were recorded for wine, beer, and liquor. Further questions assessed the respondents’ awareness of [...]

2022-12-31T11:35:54-07:00December, 2022|Oral Cancer News|

Time for warnings on alcohol

Source: Author: Star Editorial Board What if you were to learn that a product you've consumed for years is associated with serious health effects, including cancer? You’d probably approach your federal and provincial representatives and ask them to investigate why those in the know failed to warn you of the danger. As it happens, it isn't hypothetical. The product is alcohol, whose carcinogenic effect has been evident since at least 1910, when a medical journal reported a relationship between alcohol misuse and esophageal and stomach cancers. More than a century later, most Canadians are still unaware of the link between alcohol consumption and cancer: According to a Canadian Cancer Society survey, only 28 per cent of Ontarians are aware of the relationship, largely because the message hasn’t been posted where people are likely to see it. Yet the risks are real. The Canadian Cancer Society says that drinking alcohol raises the risk of developing head and neck, breast, stomach, pancreatic, liver and colorectal cancers. Their message: “The less alcohol you drink, the more you reduce your risk.” There's a simple way to inform Canadians, and it doesn't require that they peruse some dusty old medical journal. All they should need to do is look at a bottle of booze to discover the association between alcohol and cancer, as well as ways to avoid negative health effects by following low-risk drinking guidelines. Canadians are, after all, intimately familiar with warning labels on everything from food to sporting equipment to toys. [...]

2022-12-05T08:15:21-07:00December, 2022|Oral Cancer News|

Very few Americans know drinking alcohol increases cancer risk, study finds

Source: Author: Linda Carroll Despite conclusive research showing that all alcoholic beverages, including wine, increase the risk of many types of cancer, a survey of nearly 4,000 U.S. adults found that less than a third knew that alcohol consumption was a risk factor for cancer. Even fewer, just over 20%, realized that drinking wine could raise the risk of cancer, according to the report published Thursday in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention. The new findings show that “most Americans don’t know that alcohol is a leading modifiable risk factor for cancer,” Andrew Seidenberg, Ph.D., who was a cancer prevention fellow at the National Cancer Institute when the research was conducted, tells “All alcoholic beverages increase cancer risk, but there are variations in awareness by the beverage type, with wine being the lowest. In fact, 10% of U.S. adults incorrectly believe that wine decreases cancer risk.” Unfortunately, the link hasn’t gotten much attention in the media, says Seidenberg, who is now research director at Truth Initiative, a nonprofit public health organization. A 2021 study found that alcohol consumption accounted for 75,199 cancer cases and 18,947 cancer deaths annually in the U.S. Other research has linked alcohol consumption to several types of cancer, including cancers of the breast, mouth and colon. Most Americans drink, and Seidenberg wonders if some would choose to cut back if they understood the link with cancer. In 2019, 54.9% (59.1% of men, 51% of women) reported drinking in the past month, with 25.8% (29.7% of [...]

2022-12-03T08:04:58-07:00December, 2022|Oral Cancer News|

A shift in focus for head and neck cancer treatment

Source: Author: Marijke Vroomen Durning, RN When Cindy Stemple of Westerville, Ohio, noticed a sore on her tongue, the last thing she imagined was that she may have head and neck cancer. After all, she was only 27 years old. She finally went to see her dentist when the sore wouldn’t heal. Since Stemple didn’t have any known risk factors for head and neck cancer, the dentist didn’t expect cancer either. After trying several treatments, they decided it was time for a biopsy. Stemple still wasn’t concerned. “It wasn’t even in the realm of possible things,” she says. “I didn’t even take anybody to the appointment when I got the results and found out it was cancer because it was the furthest thing from my mind.” She received a diagnosis of stage 3 oral squamous cell carcinoma — which is a cancer that occurs in the mouth and/or throat. Tremendous Change in Head and Neck Cancer Historically, head and neck cancer, the seventh most common cancer globally, was predominantly diagnosed in older individuals and was often linked to tobacco and alcohol use. As smoking rates began to decline, so did tobacco- and alcohol-related cases among older individuals. But head and neck cancer rates began rising in another group — younger and middle-aged adults — driven by HPV infections, predominantly HPV type 16, which has been shown to be a clear risk factor for head and neck cancer as well as cervical cancer. HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancers in the United States [...]

2022-09-21T06:29:44-07:00September, 2022|Oral Cancer News|

Alcohol should have cancer warning labels, say doctors and researchers pushing to raise awareness of risk

Source: Author: Ioanna Roumeliotis & Brenda Witmer · CBC News It's not a secret, but it may as well be. Few Canadians know the truth, and few may want to hear it: alcohol, any amount of alcohol, can cause cancer. There is no safe amount, and the calls to inform Canadians are growing. "Even drinking one drink a day increases your risk of some cancers — including, if you're a woman, breast cancer — but also cancers of the digestive system, the mouth, stomach," said Tim Stockwell, a senior scientist with the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research at the University of Victoria. "The risk increases with every drink you take." Alcohol has been classified as a Group 1 carcinogen (carcinogenic to humans) for decades by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). It's right up there with tobacco and asbestos. Alcohol is also a top cause of preventable cancer after smoking and obesity. But the vast majority of Canadians have no idea of the risk. Stockwell wants to change that, and he and other health experts are advocating for cancer warning labels on alcohol containers. People need to know, he says, that though there are other genetic and lifestyle factors that contribute to developing cancer, every drink comes with a risk. "The risk from alcohol, it's a dose response. The bigger and more frequent the dose, the higher your risk." Kathy Andrews had no idea that the wine she enjoyed most nights before she got pregnant was [...]

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