Recent researches have shown an association between several different cancers and alcohol consumption. There is an increased risk of breast cancer, colon cancer, and oral cancers. One out of seven cases can be attributed to light to moderate drinking. The latest reports of the World Health Organization, published in Lancet Oncology have revealed some of the findings.
New Study Links Moderate Alcohol Use With Higher Cancer Risk
Canada is at the forefront of this research. In the year 2020, nearly 7,000 cancer cases were attributed to alcohol consumption. The co-author Dr. Jürgen Rehm, a senior scientist believes that all kinds of drinking involve risks. A standard glass of wine per day can also lead to cases of breast cancer. Today, there are 1,00,000 such cases worldwide.
Association Of Alcohol And Cancer
Several other research personnel, including Dr. Isabelle Soerjomataram, have found a correlation between the two. Dr. Isabelle Soerjomataram, from Cancer Surveillance Branch at IARC, says that this association is often overlooked. Thus, it becomes extremely important to raise public awareness. Several health strategies can be enforced. They include reduced availability, and marketing bans can lower the number of such cases. The researchers have analyzed data from 2010 to 2020. The reason being that most cancers like oral cancer and breast cancer have a lengthy development period of a decade.
According to Dr. Leslie Buckley, who is the Chief of Addiction, CAMH, believes that alcohol consumption increased due to the pandemic. Most people are working from home and find little to do. Socializing has also taken a back seat. Moreover, people are stressed out and alcohol seems like a savior. Apart from cancers, several other ailments can arise which are not limited to the liver alone.
Results of Studies On Global Alcohol Consumption
The model studies are based on the results received from countries all over the world. The researchers have taken into account both survey results and sales figures. Several independent scientists have pointed out that alcohol causes cancer in different ways.
One of the common findings points towards the impairment of the DNA repair mechanism. Moreover, co-morbidities like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and metabolic disorders put the population at risk even further. Apart from that, the other way through which alcohol damages the body is through liver cirrhosis. It also leads to malfunctioning sex hormones that lead to breast cancer. Alcohol also tends to increase the risk of cancers for smokers. It supposedly increases the absorption of cancer-causing chemicals from tobacco.
Dr. Jürgen Rehm has stated that the research on the association of alcohol consumption and cancers is new. So, there is no past data to refer to. Moreover, there is no public policy that aims to educate the masses on the risks.
However, the government of several countries has already employed several measures to deter people from buying alcohol. The increased prices and taxes are an indicator of such strategies. Government bodies in the meanwhile have asked manufacturers to include information on risks on the labels themselves.
Additionally, a combination of counseling and medication as a treatment modality may prove to be successful. However, data is very minimal. So, more research has to take place, before the final call.
There are several loopholes in the study. As, more data is needed for unaccounted alcohol sales, genetics, social environment, and other factors. CAMH has come up with an alcohol policy framework, which was last updated in September 2019. The research document contains information on the measures that can address the issues. It includes both social as well as health implications of alcohol. Accurate measurement of the markers will make it clear in the future. The arena needs more data to find facts co-relating both alcohol consumption and cancers.