Study: Even moderate amounts of alcohol can lead to cancer

Study: Even moderate amounts of alcohol can lead to cancer
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A report led by a UW-Health oncologist aims to educate the public about the alarming link between alcohol and cancer, even in moderate amounts.

Dr. Noelle Loconte is an associate professor of medicine at UW and the lead author of the report published Thursday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. It says even moderate drinking boosts breast and colon cancer risk. Moderate is defined as a drink a day for women, and two drinks per day for men.

It links alcohol to several oral cancers, as well as pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, breast and colorectal cancer. The study suggests most people don’t realize the cancer risk associated with alcohol use.

Dr. Loconte is the lead author of the report from the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

“It’s the first time we’ve put our support behind these various policy strategies as a way to reduce alcohol use, to reduce the amount of cancer,” she said. “So this is the first time ASCO has said we support higher taxes on alcohol, lower number of outlets that sell alcohol, fewer days of sale, limited youth exposure to alcohol advertising.”

Almost 6 percent of cancer deaths can be attributed to alcohol use.

The group would also like to see the elimination of what’s known as pinkwashing — when companies use pink on their bottles and cans, often in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month — to boost alcohol sales.

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