On November 7, the nation’s top oncologists released a statement through the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) to draw attention to the connection between alcohol and cancer risk. There’s been a lot of talk touting certain alcohols, such as red wine, as cancer-fighting elixirs and superfoods — but these medical professionals reveal a bleak, risky reality of drinking.
The statement provides evidence of a connection between light drinking and an increased risk of esophageal and breast cancer. Heavy drinkers face a much longer list of risks, including mouth cancer, throat cancer, cancer of the voice box, liver cancer, and colorectal cancer. That’s a whole lot of cancers.
“The message is not, ‘Don’t drink.’ It’s, ‘If you want to reduce your cancer risk, drink less,” said Dr. Noelle LoConte, lead author of the statement. “And if you don’t drink, don’t start.” She says this “subtle” take on the issue is somewhat less cautionary than the warnings about smoking. But the message rings the same.
The doctors behind the statement aimed to draw attention to what they view as a public health problem and advocate for a push towards better education and research.
“ASCO believes that a proactive stance by the Society to minimize excessive exposure to alcohol has important implications for cancer prevention,” the statement reads. They believe that the more action society takes, the fewer lives cancer might steal.
“The link between increased alcohol consumption and cancer has been firmly established,” Dr. Bruce Johnson, president of the ASCO, added. He claimed that he hopes this knowledge empowers doctors “to help their patients reduce their risk of cancer.”
Cutting out alcohol isn’t all you can do to lower your risk. Lower your own cancer risk by eating these 10 healthy foods.