Monday January 27, 2020

Alcohol dependency leads to cancer in myriad forms

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London:High alcohol consumption will lead to varied forms of cancers among heavy drinkers, especially, in low-income countries like India, researchers have warned.

Picture credit: wearechange.org
Picture credit: wearechange.org

The new study of alcohol use in countries of all-income levels, including low-income nations like India and Zimbabwe, shows that alcohol dependence increases the risk of alcohol-related cancers and injury with no reduction in risk of mortality or in cardiovascular diseases overall.

The data came from 12 countries participating in the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study, a prospective cohort study of individuals aged 35-70 years.

The high-income countries were Sweden and Canada; upper-middle-income countries were Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Poland, South Africa and Turkey; lower-middle-income countries were China and Colombia; and were India and Zimbabwe.

The research, published in The Lancet journal, included 114,970 adults, of whom 28,813 people (25 per cent) were from low-income countries.

Current drinking was associated with a 51 per cent increased risk of alcohol-related cancers of mouth, oesophagus, stomach, colorectum, liver, breast, ovary, and head and neck. A 29 per cent increased risk of injury in current drinkers has been witnessed.

Although current drinking was associated with a 24 per cent reduced risk of heart attack, there was no reduction in risk of mortality or stroke.

High alcohol intake and heavy episodic drinking were both associated with significant increases in risk of overall mortality.

For higher-income countries, current drinking was associated with a 16 per cent reduced risk of combined disease outcome, while for lower-income countries, current drinking was associated with a 38 per cent increased risk.

“The world needs better health strategies to reduce harmful alcohol use especially in low-income countries like India,” the authors noted.

“Because alcohol consumption is increasing in many countries, especially in low-income countries, the importance of alcohol as a risk factor for disease might be underestimated. Therefore, global strategies to reduce harmful use of alcohol are essential,” explained Dr Salim Yusuf, president of the World Heart Federation.

According to a leading author, Dr Andrew Smyth from the Population Health Research Institute at McMaster University in Canada, “the data support the call to increase global awareness of the importance of harmful use of alcohol and the need to further identify and target the modifiable determinants of harmful alcohol use”.

(IANS)

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Patients May Suffer Invasive Treatments for Harmless Cancers: Researchers

According to the researchers, It is the first time that the risk of overdiagnosis has been quantified across five cancers, anywhere in the world

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A breast cancer diagnosis is terrifying enough at any time. Pixabay

Researchers have revealed that Australians are increasingly being diagnosed with potentially harmless cancers, which if left undetected or untreated, may expose them to unnecessary surgeries and chemotherapy.

The research, published in the Medical Journal of Australia, drew on data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare to compare how the lifetime risk of five cancers had changed between 1982 and 2012.

The study shows compared to 30 years ago, Australians are much more likely to experience a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime.

“Cancer treatments such as surgery, radiotherapy, endocrine and chemotherapy carry risks of physical harms,” said the study authors from Bond University, University of Sydney and Griffith University in Australia.

“In the absence of overdiagnosis, these harms are generally considered acceptable. In the context of overdiagnosed cancers, however, affected individuals cannot benefit but can only be harmed by these treatments,” authors added.

The figures suggest that in 2012 24 per cent of cancers or carcinomas in men were overdiagnosed. These included 42 per cent of prostate cancers, 42 per cent of renal cancers, 73 per cent of thyroid cancers and 58 per cent of melanomas.

Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

For women, 18 per cent of cancers or carcinomas were overdiagnosed, including 22 per cent of breast cancers, 58 per cent of renal cancers, 73 per cent of thyroid cancers and 58 per cent of melanomas.

The figures are significant because of the harm that can occur from cancer treatment of patients who would never have had symptoms in their lifetime.

The authors also refer to separate studies showing overdiagnosis could be linked to psychological problems.

“For example, men’s risk of suicide appears to increase in the year after receiving a prostate cancer diagnosis,” researchers said.

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According to the researchers, It is the first time that the risk of overdiagnosis has been quantified across five cancers, anywhere in the world.”

The findings also suggest an important role for health services such as the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, in detecting potential overdiagnosis and alerting health policy decision makers to the problem early on. (IANS)