Friday, July 22, 2016

Denis Campbell - Alcohol is a direct cause of seven ​​forms of cancer, finds study

Alcohol causes seven forms of cancer, and people consuming even low to moderate amounts are at risk, according to new analysis. Health experts endorsed the findings and said they showed that ministers should initiate more education campaigns in order to tackle widespread public ignorance about how closely alcohol and cancer are connected. The study sparked renewed calls for regular drinkers to be encouraged to take alcohol-free days, and for alcohol packaging to carry warning labels.

Fresh analysis of evidence accumulated over recent years implicates alcohol in the development of breast, colon, liver and other types of cancer. The study, published in the scientific journal Addiction, concludes that there is more than simply a link or statistical association between alcohol and cancer that could be explained by something else. There is now enough credible evidence to say conclusively that drinking is a direct cause of the disease, according to Jennie Connor, of the preventive and social medicine department at Otago University in New Zealand.

“There is strong evidence that alcohol causes cancer at seven sites in the body and probably others,” Connor said. “Even without complete knowledge of biological mechanisms [of how alcohol causes cancer], the epidemiological evidence can support the judgment that alcohol causes cancer of the oropharynx, larynx, oesophagus, liver, colon, rectum and breast.”

Growing evidence suggested that alcohol was also likely to cause skin, prostate and pancreatic cancer, she added. Emphasising that a drinker’s risk increased in relation to the amount consumed, Connor said: “For all these there is a dose-response relationship.” Connor arrived at her conclusions after studying reviews undertaken over the past 10 years by the World Cancer Research Fund, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the World Health Organisation’s cancer body, and other authoritative bodies.

“The highest risks are associated with the heaviest drinking but a considerable burden is experienced by drinkers with low to moderate consumption, due to the distribution of drinking in the population,” Connor said. Campaigns to reduce alcohol consumption should therefore try to encourage everyone to cut down, as targeting only heavy drinkers had “limited potential” to reduce alcohol-related cancer, she added... Read more:
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jul/22/alcohol-direct-cause-seven-forms-of-cancer-study