Reduce Your Risk of Oral and Esophageal Cancer, Read Now

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Oral and Esophageal Cancer: An International Agency for Research on Cancer special study indicates that cutting back or quitting alcohol lowers the risk of esophageal and mouth cancers. To determine whether this holds true for a number of other cancer types, such as colorectal, breast, and liver cancer, more research is necessary.

But even so, cutting back on or giving up alcohol will probably lower your chance of developing certain diseases, according to Farhad Islami, an American Cancer Society cancer epidemiologist and report author. Since many of these tumours have comparable molecular pathways, he predicted that there would be a comparable correlation with reduction or cessation. For this reason, we advise conducting additional research so that our proof is stronger.

Oral and Esophageal Cancer

According to Islami, research conducted over the past few decades has conclusively shown that drinking alcohol increases a person’s risk of developing a number of cancers, including breast, colorectal, liver, oral, esophageal, and more. He stated, “That’s already established.” But we were curious: What would happen if individuals stopped drinking?

That was the main focus of the study, which was released online on Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. To determine how compelling the evidence is that alcohol consumption reduces or even eliminates cancer risk, an IARC study team examined hundreds of prior studies. Cohort studies, which track a group of participants over time, and case-control studies, which attempt to examine the variations between individuals with cancer and those who did not develop the disease.

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According to the analysis, there is enough data to conclude that cutting back on or quitting alcohol lowers the chance of developing cancer of the mouth and oesophagus. Giving up alcohol for five to nine years was associated with a 34% relative risk reduction for oral cancer, and for ten to nineteen years, it was associated with a 55% relative risk reduction. Giving up alcohol for five to fifteen years reduced the relative risk of esophageal cancer by 15%, and for fifteen years or longer, the related risk decreased by 65%. Researchers discovered insufficient evidence for pharynx and liver cancer and insufficient evidence for larynx, colorectum, and breast cancer.

Oral and Esophageal Cancer

As soon as people drink alcohol, it metabolizes to a compound called acetaldehyde. This is from the microbes we have in the gastrointestinal tract, and it starts in the mouth. After a few minutes, the concentration of acetaldehyde goes up immediately in the saliva, gastric juices, colon, and in the blood. That’s a potent genotoxic compound. It can affect DNA, and it may cause cancer. Smoking affects the microbiome, and that can increase the levels of acetaldehyde produced in the mouth. So, smoking is synergistic in that way.

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There are other factors as well. It can increase inflammation, cause oxidative stress, and alcohol can affect sex hormone levels. That can change the risk of breast cancer. Alcohol can also reduce absorption of some nutrients that are helpful to repair DNA damage — for example, folate.

This is why it’s very likely that the more you reduce alcohol, the greater the risk reduction of cancer. That’s what we expect, and we think it’s very likely the risk will also go down over time for all the other cancer types if you reduce or cease alcohol — but the evidence is just limited at this time.

What’s the utility behind understanding how cancer risk declines after alcohol cessation or reduction if we already know that alcohol consumption leads to cancer?

Thus, we already know this with smoking. We discovered that a person’s chance of developing cardiovascular disease drops by 60% after ten years if they quit smoking. There is a 50% reduction in the risk of cancer and related disorders when compared to current smokers. Unfortunately, there is a dearth of evidence to indicate the time it takes to completely eliminate the danger associated with alcohol, which is something we would like to examine.

It’s crucial because, in certain cases, reducing or eliminating an exposure may not result in significant advantages. This is the case with some viral diseases, such as hep B or c. For this reason, getting the hepatitis vaccination at a young age is advised. Prior to recommending guidelines for individuals, we also want to see this kind of proof, and research of this nature aid in the creation of future risk projections. It can assist decision-makers in raising awareness or coming up with strategies to lower alcohol use among the general public.

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What kind of evidence do we still need to get to understand this link better?

The best evidence we can get would be cohort studies, where we follow people over time. The issue with the evidence now is that many of the studies that were available just reported the risk for former drinkers without showing when they stopped drinking, how long they stopped drinking, or whether people continued drinking but reduced their consumption. We don’t have much data on that. It’d be great to have studies now that ask more questions about the duration of alcohol cessation or reduction. The ACS [American Cancer Society] started a new one a few years ago called CPS3. But we still need more.

Why do you think we have so little evidence on this link currently?

The 1950s saw the discovery of the link between smoking and cancer. Subsequently, in 1964, the Surgeon General’s report on the link between smoking and cancer was released, sparking a flurry of initiatives.

The link between drinking and cancer dates back more than a decade. Many people, including a surprising number of medical experts, were unaware that alcohol intake is linked to an increased risk of cancer, according to a few polls. That could be the cause of the lack of questions about alcohol intake in previous cohort studies.

It takes decades to complete these cohort studies from the point of recruitment to the point of meaningful data analysis and publication. Additionally, there was the notion that a small amount of alcohol could enhance cardiovascular health. That belief still exists. Recent data now implies that might not be the case. Those results might have been muddied by other correlations, such as the fact that many Mediterranean diet adherents also have a high fruit and vegetable intake. Furthermore, the alcohol business sponsors the studies.

It’s critical to stress that heavy drinking is not a necessary factor in raising one’s risk of cancer. Risk increases with even modest, moderate drinking. The American Cancer Society advises against drinking alcohol or, if you must, consuming less of it.

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Reduce Your Risk of Oral and Esophageal Cancer: New Analysis Highlights Benefits of Quitting or Limiting Alcohol Consumption
Reduce Your Risk of Oral and Esophageal Cancer: New Analysis Highlights Benefits of Quitting or Limiting Alcohol Consumption