- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The opinion of the medical community is that drinking alcohol increases the risk for cancer, but at least 70 percent of Americans don’t believe their drinking has an effect on their long-term health, particularly their risk for at least five specific cancers.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology has raised the red flag, warning that the public is lacking education and understanding of the serious health risks of light to moderate drinking.

“Alcohol use — whether light, moderate, or heavy — is linked with increasing the risk of several leading cancers, including those of the breast, colon, esophagus, and head and neck,” ASCO said in a statement issued Tuesday, following publication of new materials addressing public opinion on the risks associated with drinking.

Between five and six percent of new cancers and cancer deaths globally are directly attributed to alcohol, according to the statement published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology on Tuesday. Yet only 38 percent of Americans limit their intake of alcohol to reduce their risk for cancer, the organization showed in its National Cancer Opinion Survey. The survey was conducted by Harris Poll over 10 days in July of over 4,000 adults over the age of 18, and the results were published last month.

The national opinion is based on a Harris Poll conducted over 10 days in July of over 4,000 adults over the age of 18. The results were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology last month.

“People typically don’t associate drinking beer, wine, and hard liquor with increasing their risk of developing cancer in their lifetimes,” said ASCO President Bruce Johnson. “However, the link between increased alcohol consumption and cancer has been firmly established and gives the medical community guidance on how to help their patients reduce their risk of cancer.”

The society also level charges against alcohol companies for “pinkwashing,” or “exploiting the color pink or pink ribbons to show commitment to finding a cure for breast cancer given the evidence that alcohol consumption is linked to an increase risk of breast cancer.”

The society recommends a number of policy changes to limit the availability of alcohol, including regulating the number of stores, limiting hours of operation and increasing taxes.

ASCO joins a growing number of cancer care and public health organizations in recognizing that even moderate alcohol use can cause cancer,” said Dr. Noelle K. LoConte, lead author of the statement and an associate professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin. “The good news is that, just like people wear sunscreen to limit their risk of skin cancer, limiting alcohol intake is one more thing people can do to reduce their overall risk of developing cancer.”

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