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ASCO Issues Statement Regarding Alcohol and Cancer

Alcohol-related cancers account for 5.5 percent of all cancers treated annually worldwide

elderly woman drinking wine

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 8, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Alcohol use is associated with certain types of cancer, and the risk of cancer can be reduced by strategies to prevent excessive use of alcohol, according to a statement published online Nov. 7 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Noting that alcohol drinking is an established risk factor for several malignancies and that it is a potentially modifiable risk factor for cancer, Noelle K. LoConte, M.D., from the University of Wisconsin Madison, and colleagues developed a statement on alcohol and cancer for the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

The researchers note that alcohol-related cancers are estimated to account for 5.5 percent of all cancers treated annually worldwide. The statement promotes public education related to the risks of alcohol abuse and certain types of cancer. It also supports policy efforts to reduce the risk of cancer by preventing excessive use of alcohol. Education for providers relating to the influence of excessive alcohol use and cancer risks and treatment complications is offered, including clarification of conflicting evidence. Finally, areas for future research with respect to alcohol use and cancer risk and outcomes are discussed.

"Because alcohol use is quite common, an initiative to address alcohol use (particularly high-risk alcohol use) is a potential preventive strategy to decrease the burden of cancer," the authors write. "Policy efforts are likely to be the most effective way to address this need."

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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