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Alcohol: doctors highlight cancer risks


“Even one drink a day increases your risk of certain cancers, including breast cancer if you’re female, but also those of the digestive system, mouth and stomach,” says Tim Stockwell, a senior scientist at Canadian Institute for Addiction Research at the University of Victoria. The risk increases with each drink.

While 7,000 alcohol-related cancer cases were detected in Canada in 2020, according to a study in The Lancet Oncology, Have (New window)Haveonly a quarter of Canadian drinkers know that alcohol can be responsible for cancer, says the Addiction Research Institute.

According to Fawaad ​​Iqbal, a radiation oncologist at the Regional Cancer Center in Durham, Ont., Some of his patients still claim that drinking alcohol has cardiovascular health benefits when studies have shown otherwise.

The sale of alcohol has even increased since the start of the pandemic, particularly in British Columbia. Alcohol is however classified like tobacco, in Group 1 of substances carcinogenic to humans according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

We have warning labels on everything , underlines Dr. Iqbal who underlines that it would be normal to have labels raising the risk of cancer on alcohol bottles.

Such a measure was launched in the Yukon in 2017, but a month after its launch, the territory abandoned the initiative following strong opposition from the alcohol industry.

Journalists from Canadian Broadcasting Corporation contacted Beer Canada, Spirits Canada and Vignerons Canada to ask if they recognized the link between alcohol and cancer. All said it was the duty of consumers to drink responsibly and in moderation.

Spirits Canada also noted that policies are already in place to remind the public of the risks associated with alcohol, including minimum ages for purchasing alcohol.

Based on information from Ioanna Roumeliotis and Brenda Witmer

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