June 16, 2008

Alcohol and Cancer – As Dangerous as Smoking?

cig&alcoholSome basic facts concerning alcoholism include: the disease afflicts nearly 14 million people nationwide, or nearly one in every 10 adults; it kills nearly 20,000 Americans each year, both directly and as a result of alcohol-related incidents and conditions.

Nearly one-third of people diagnosed with psychotic disorders show a history of alcoholism and alcohol-dependency. Clearly this disease is devastating in its scope and impact. It is a strain on the public health system and a trauma for countless families nationwide…

However, even these staggering numbers may be an actual understatement of the true damage inflicted by alcoholism. A new international study has found that the cancer risk associated with heavy alcohol consumption has long been under reported and may rival even the risks posed by smoking. The study, conducted by the France-based International Agency for Research on Cancer, was recently published in The Lancet Oncology journal.

Based on the results of the study, researchers have concluded that excessive drinking and alcohol dependency can significantly raise the risk of a host of cancers, including those of the breast, colon, esophagus, larynx, liver, and mouth. There may even be an association between alcohol consumption and lung and pancreatic cancer, although the findings of the study were not entirely conclusive on those two forms.

Alcohol and Mixed Messages

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