SEP 21, 2017 07:02 AM PDT
Is The Alcohol Industry Misleading Us on Cancer Risk?
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Much like the controversy over the tobacco industry and cancer, there is rising concern that the liquor industry is also trying to downplay the risk of alcohol use and cancer. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has published new research about dozens of liquor industry websites that have misleading or sometimes outright false information on the risks of alcohol use. Many of these websites, as well as other publications, have strong ties to liquor manufacturing or other parts of the alcohol business like distributors and suppliers. Experts say that one out of every 25 cases of cancer in the UK is directly related to alcohol use, especially cases of breast cancer and colon-rectal cancer.

Despite this high association between cancer and alcohol intake, only about one in 10 people surveyed in the UK were aware of it. One in five cases of breast cancer can be traced to alcohol intake because booze raises the hormone levels of estrogen, which in turn feeds tumors. Lead researcher Mark Petticrew stated, "Public awareness of this risk is low, and it has been argued that greater public awareness, particularly of the risk of breast cancer, poses a significant threat to the alcohol industry." The information on cancer and alcohol can be confusing at times, and the industry is believed to be exploiting the complexity of it, and in the process, the public is left unaware of the actual risk. The research on the misinformation found on industry websites is published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review.

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