Drinking more than six glasses of wine or cans of beer a week reduces your life expectancy, according to the one of the largest-ever studies on global alcohol consumption. The more you drink, the higher your risk, the study says. Heavy drinkers shave years off their lifespan. New findings in The Lancet show that drinking more than six glasses of wine a week reduces your life expectancy, that’s down from nine glasses of wine currently recommended as the maximum under Australia's health guidelines. Australian health guidelines say 14 standard drinks a week – that’s about seven pints of beer, or about nine glasses of wine – is safe. But the new findings, published on Friday in The Lancet, significantly undermine that claim
While I was aware of the fact that I drank an above average amount of alcohol for a dude in his mid-30’s, I never viewed it as a “problem”. It was more like an asset. Furthermore, it was an integral part of my persona: the hard partying, good time guy who also gets shit done! What would I be without it? Boring as hell?
The scariest thing about folks like us — the so-called “high functioning” types — is that we are so good at holding it together and hiding our disease that nobody ever really notices — until it is typically too late. I am extremely thankful for the fact that I quit when I did. Major disaster was inevitable.
Please take it from me, you do not have to wait for divorce or getting fired or getting thrown in the slammer or having a heart attack to occur in order for you to justify quitting.
I can assure you that quitting because you knew something horrible was about to happen is going to feel way better than quitting because something horrible did happen!
Prevention in Oncology is guest edited by Jennifer Ligibel, MD, Chair of ASCO’s Energy Balance Working Group and a member of ASCO’s Cancer Survivorship and Cancer Prevention Committees. Dr. Ligibel is Director of the Leonard P. Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Each Prevention in Oncology column will address one of five areas in cancer prevention— alcohol use, obesity, tobacco use, vaccines to prevent cancer-causing infections, and germline genetics—with the goal of providing strategies to reduce the risk of cancer, as well as preventing cancer recurrence and second malignancy during cancer survivorship.
Among the many surprising findings in ASCO’s National Cancer Opinion Survey, published this past October, is that 30% of the more than 4,000 Americans polled identified alcohol as a risk factor for cancer, and just 38% of respondents said they limit alcohol consumption to prevent cancer.1 The survey results were published a month before ASCO issued its statement on the role alcohol plays in the development of cancer and its recommendations to reduce cancer risk through evidence-based strategies to prevent the excessive use of alcohol and modify behavior.2
The connection between heavy, prolonged alcohol use and the increased risk for certain cancers—mainly those of the upper aerodigestive tract (e.g., oropharyngeal, laryngeal, and esophageal cancers), as well as colon, liver, and female breast cancers—has been well known for at least 3 decades, given the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s determination in 1987 that alcoholic beverages were carcinogenic to humans.3 In fact, it is estimated that 5.5% of all new cancer occurrences and 5.8% of all cancer deaths worldwide4—and 3.5% of all cancer deaths in the United States5—are attributable to alcohol consumption.
On Sunday the Victorian Government announced reforms to the Liquor Control Reform Act.
The Victorian Government media release about the reforms is available here.
In summary the reforms include:
The Alcohol Policy Coalition (APC) has responded to the reforms. The APC media release is available.
Further information about alcohol harm zones is available in the APCs submission to the 2016 review of the Liquor Control Reform Act.
Principal Program Officer, Alcohol and Tobacco (VicHealth)
The Poll is now in its ninth year of publication and explores Australia’s attitudes towards alcohol, drinking behaviours, awareness and experience of alcohol harm, and opinions on alcohol policies.
Key findings this year include:
The report, along with a series of short videos, is available at www.fare.org.au