Independence Day & Over-Celebrating: The Potential Role of Alcohol in Cancer Risk 

Binge drinking on July 4, birthdays and other holidays is common practice for many people, but it may be a habit worth reevaluating in light of cancer prevention and reduced disease risk. Recently, the American Society of Clinical Oncology brought to light the ties between alcohol and cancer in their statement published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. [1] “The message is not, ‘Don’t drink.’ It’s, ‘If you want to reduce your cancer risk, drink less. And if you don’t drink, don’t start,’” Dr. Noelle LoConte, University of Wisconsin-Madison associate professor and lead author of the ASCO statement, told the New York Times.[2]

To support its statement, ASCO cited evidence that even light drinking can increase the risk of breast, esophageal and head and neck cancers, while heavy alcohol use may additionally lead to significantly increased risks of other types of cancer, as well, including liver and colorectal.

Studies About Alcohol & Prostate Cancer

The causal association between drinking and prostate cancer risk has generally been inconclusive, but a 2016 collaborative study and meta-analysis [3] found new evidence of a relationship between alcohol consumption and prostate cancer risk. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Victoria, Canada and the Drug Research Institute (NDRI) at Curtin University, Australia, found an “…increasing risk of prostate cancer starting at low–level alcohol consumption (> 1.33 g and < 25 g ethanol/day…High (45 – < 65 g/day) and higher (65+ g/day) volume drinkers had a significantly higher risk.”

“This new study contributes to the strengthening evidence that alcohol consumption is a risk factor for prostate cancer,” said Dr. Tim Stockwell, study co-author and UVic’s CARBC director, in a University of Victoria news release. [4] “Alcohol’s contribution to prostate cancer will need to be factored into future estimates of the global burden of disease.”

A Healthy Lifestyle to Reduce Risk of Prostate Cancer

Inquire with your men’s health provider or cancer care team how further testing, routine health screenings and a discussion of family history can help you stay on top of disease risk. If you or a loved one is facing a possible diagnosis of prostate cancer after an abnormal PSA or other screening test, ask your doctor about 4Kscore, which provides your individual risk of aggressive prostate cancer.

 

From the 4Kscore team, enjoy a safe, happy Independence Day!

 

  1. Alcohol and Cancer: A Statement of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Noelle K. LoConte, Abenaa M. Brewster, Judith S. Kaur, Janette K. Merrill, and Anthony J. Alberg; Journal of Clinical Oncology 0 0:0
  2. Rabin, Roni Caryn (2017, November 17). Cancer doctors cite risks of drinking alcohol. Retrived from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/07/well/live/cancer-doctors-cite-risks-of-drinking-alcohol.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0.
  3. Jinhui Zhao et al. Is alcohol consumption a risk factor for prostate cancer? A systemative review and meta-analysis. BMC Cancer (2016). DOI: 10.1186/s12885-016-2891-z
  4. University of Victoria. (2016, November 15). Why you may want to keep your Movember moustache out of the beer froth. Retrieved from https://www.uvic.ca/news/topics/2016+alcohol-prostate-cancer-tim-stockwell+media-release.
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