Experts Say Alcohol Is A Leading Cause Of Cancer, And Should Have Warning Labels

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Our society is steeped in alcohol. It is everywhere. In ads, movies, grocery stores, even coloring books. 

You can drink at the movie theatre, the spa, concerts, and sporting events. We’ve got book clubs with wine, painting classes with wine, cooking with wine, baby showers with wine, danish lessons with wine.  

Wanna drink while working out? Yup, You can do that too. There’s a yoga class for that. Cheers and namaste!

We drink to socialize, celebrate, or just to unwind after a long day. After all, our kids whine so we wine, amirite?

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To say that alcohol is popular is a gross understatement.

However, it doesn’t come without risks, and according to a new article published by CBC News, you may want to do the opposite of what Jesus did and swap out that wine for water.

The article states what none of us want to hear, alcohol, in any amount, is a leading cause of cancer and it should come with warning labels. 

Apparently, when it comes to alcohol there is no “too much of a good thing is bad for you,” it’s ALL bad. There is no safe amount, regardless of whether it’s beer, wine, or distilled liquor. 

Tim Stockwell, a senior scientist with the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research at the University of Victoria tells CBC:

“Even drinking one drink a day increases your risk of some cancers — including, if you’re a woman, breast cancer — but also cancers of the digestive system, the mouth, stomach. The risk increases with every drink you take.”

Ooof. I had no idea. Did you? As the daughter of a woman who died from breast cancer, this information is sobering. 

According to a report published in the United States National Library of Medicine entitled, ‘Alcohol Intake and Breast Cancer Risk: Weighing the Overall Evidence,’ the authors discovered that “moderate alcohol consumption has been linked to an approximate 30-50% increased risk in breast cancer.”

Thirty to fifty percent. That’s huge.

However, it’s not just your odds of getting breast cancer that are increased with each shot you take, so are your chances of getting other cancers as well. 

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, as with breast cancer, the increased risk of esophageal cancers starts at less than one drink per day.   

Alcohol is classified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and has been for years.

In a nutshell, it’s toxic. It also happens to be one of the top three causes of preventable cancers.

“It’s right up there with tobacco and asbestos. Alcohol is also a top cause of preventable cancer after smoking and obesity.”

When you drink alcohol, your body breaks it down into a chemical called acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde damages your DNA and prevents your body from repairing the damage. Once the DNA is damaged, cells can take on a mind of their own, growing uncontrollably and creating cancerous tumors.

For women, alcohol can also raise estrogen levels in the body which is known to cause breast cancer.

And advocates want the people to know. They are calling for warning labels to be attached to all liquor bottles, much in the same way that warning labels are now on cigarette cartons. 

Photo Credit: www.fda.gov/tobacco-products/

And they should be. Scientists have found that more than 740,000 new cancer cases were linked to alcohol consumption in 2020 alone.

It’s a problem, and thanks to the pandemic, it’s only getting worse. Alcohol use in the U.S has skyrocketed. Americans are reportedly drinking significantly more alcohol now than ever before.

Because let’s face it, these past couple of years navigating Covid has been beyond hard. It’s no wonder that people have turned to drinking as a coping mechanism.

As for the old adage that red wine is good for the heart? Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but this has largely been debunked

Doctors in Canada are calling for a sweeping change in liquor labeling with radiation oncologist, Dr. Fawaad Iqbal, leading the charge.

He tells CBC:

“It’s shocking. In an information era, we have warning labels on everything I can think of.

I bought my kids fishing rods this summer, and their fishing rods have warning labels that say this fishing rod can cause cancer. Whereas, you know, a level-one carcinogen that is everywhere has no particular warnings on it.”

But the alcohol industry isn’t about to give in without a fight. The multi-trillion dollar-a-year industry isn’t exactly welcoming the idea of warning labels with open arms. Industry representatives “argue the cancer labels are alarmist and misleading.”

I bet they do. 

As for how much alcohol is okay to consume? If you listen to the industry moderation is key. However, according to these doctors, the answer is none at all.

The official stance according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020–2025, is no more than one drink a day for women, and no more than two drinks a day for men. They also recommend that if you don’t drink, don’t start drinking because of any possible perceived health benefits.

People who have given up drinking cite better sleep habits, younger-looking skin (count me IN), weight loss, and better mental health as just some of the benefits. 

Oh, and NOT dying of alcohol-induced cancer. So yeah, there’s that.

So the next time you reach for that “mommy juice” you may want to pause and reach for fruit juice instead. 

Check out the following sites to learn more:

Drink Less For Your Breasts
American Cancer Society
Alcoholics Anonymous

 

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