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Alcohol increases cancer risk, says report led by UW doctor

Alcohol's cancer risk often overlooked

If a drinker stops consuming alcohol for 20 years or more, however, their risk of cancer reverts back to that of non-drinkers, according to the researchers' analysis.

Maybe you should skip that glass of wine tonight, because even light drinking increases your risk of cancer, warns a new statement from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

A recent survey finds that 70% of Americans are unaware of how alcohol is linked to potential cancer.

The team of researchers also reported that, around 5.5 per cent from all new cases of cancers and 5.8 per cent of total cancer deaths in 2012, could be globally attributed as drinking alcohol.

Among women, light drinkers have a four percent increased risk of breast cancer, while moderate drinkers have a 23 percent increased risk of the disease.

LoConte also told the Times people who do drink alcohol don't have to totally stop, although that'd be the smartest move, but that "If you want to reduce your cancer risk, drink less".

"The most recent data that I have seen estimated that this was 18,200-21,300 alcohol-related deaths in the USA in 2009", co-author Noelle LoConte, a professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health was quoted while talking about the same.

"People typically don't associate drinking beer, wine, and hard liquor with increasing their risk of developing cancer in their lifetimes", said Bruce Johnson, M.D., FASCO, ASCO president. McTiernan is also on the advisory panel that oversees the work of the World Cancer Research Fund.

"If you don't drink, don't start", says Dr LoConte, and "if you do drink try to stay under the recommendations of 1 or less per day for women and 2 or less per day for men".

The doctors' group that published the statement hopes there's a new public push to downsize the advertising of alcohol to minors and even new taxes on booze.

Those that are heavy drinkers face far higher risks of throat and mouth cancer, voice box cancer, liver cancer and to some extent, the colorectal cancers, cautioned the group.

Alcohol causes damage in different ways. I believe that the best strategy to reducing overall population alcohol use is policy strategy - making the healthier choice the easy choice.

"The evidence is very clear", she said.

Many people may not recognize the link between alcohol and cancer, Ashton said, and thus may be missing out on an opportunity to lower cancer risk factors.