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Case Builds on Alcohol

May 2, 2011

It seems a trend: a building of evidence linking alcohol consumption to cancer. And the most troubling evidence seems to be that there is no safe level.

The Cancer Council Australia has revised its forecasts to reflect new research showing that alcohol has probably caused about 5.6 per cent of cancers inAustralia. A figure representing nearly 6500 of the 115,000 cases expected this year – double the 3.1 per cent nominated in the last assessment.

This builds on work by Associate Professor Graham Newstead on alcohol and bowel cancer from last year.

This completely outweighs the oft-expressed view that a small amount of alcohol has a healthy effect. This was always a weak argument because it ignored the effect alcohol has on obesity and ignored the fact that one third of cancers may be related to obesity, as well as the link between obesity and other conditions such as diabetes.

As a GP told me, “Alcohol is calorific, and all the useless calories in it are directed at your middle.”

And as Professor Ian Olver of the Cancer Council said, “There is no evidence of a safe dose.”

Alcohol emerges as a clearer public health challenge than ever before.

8 Comments
  1. May 2, 2011 2:41 pm

    “As a GP told me, Alcohol is calorific, and all the useless calories in it are directed at your middle.”

    A number of GP’s have told me that is complete bollocks. I myself like scores of other people drink, maybe not a lot but i enjoy a good drink once in while like anyone else (some drink a HELL of alot more than I) and are not fat and across a wide range of age groups

    The major reason why people are FAT is because they fail to exercise and eat crap!

    Alcohol has been consumed for EONS and yet even further still, the average life span of humans has never been as high as it is now yet humans CONTINUE to drink alcohol.

    • Bob Carr permalink
      May 2, 2011 4:23 pm

      The calorie content of alcohol is high. They are useless calories. They hit your middle. This is especially the case as you get older. The beer gut is a reality. Drinking compounds the problems of sedentary lifestyle and energy-rich, nutrient-poor diets. It is bad not good for your health.

  2. Richie permalink
    May 2, 2011 4:26 pm

    Alcohol potentiates the carcinogenic action of tobacco, so that the vast majority of alcohol-related cancers of the throat, oesophagus and larynx occur in smokers, and conversely you are very unlikely to contract any of these cancers as long as you don’t smoke. It should also be borne in mind that low to moderate alcohol consumption has a protective effect against coronary artery disease, compared with total abstention from alcohol. So putting together deaths from any cause, it is by no means clear that life expectancy, at least in males, is reduced by low or moderate alcohol consumption – provided you never smoke.

  3. Watson permalink
    May 2, 2011 5:12 pm

    Sobering news.

  4. May 2, 2011 7:53 pm

    Another example where private profit of the brewers and winemakers is traded against a soaring health bill as we age with obesity and now preventable cancers being linked with alcohol.

    I want to be in a health fund for non-smokers, sensible eaters, and near-tee-totallers.
    How much would I save I wonder, instead of being in a big fund which was to take the lowest common denominator into its pricing.

  5. May 2, 2011 9:46 pm

    Christ on a bike, these nanny-staters never give up.

  6. Robert Doherty permalink
    May 3, 2011 1:31 pm

    Bob,
    Before you become a self-appointed expert in this field, you should read a letter in today’s SMH(3 May) by a Dr Philip Norrie.

    • Bob Carr permalink
      May 3, 2011 2:08 pm

      My GP disagrees. More later.

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