Thursday, 28 June 2018

Alcohol Use & Cancer

[From the American Cancer Society at]

Alcohol Use and Cancer

Most people know that heavy drinking can cause health problems. But many people might not know that drinking alcohol also can raise their risk of getting cancer.

Cancers linked to alcohol use

Alcohol use has been linked with cancers of the:
Alcohol may also increase the risk of cancers of the pancreas and stomach.
For each of these cancers, the more alcohol you drink, the higher your cancer risk.
Cancers of the mouth, throat, voice box, and esophagus: Alcohol use clearly raises the risk of these cancers. Drinking and smoking together raises the risk of these cancers even more than drinking or smoking alone. This might be because alcohol can help harmful chemicals in tobacco get inside the cells that line the mouth, throat and esophagus. Alcohol may also limit how these cells can repair damage to their DNA caused by the chemicals in tobacco.
Liver cancer: Long-term alcohol use has been linked to an increased risk of liver cancer. Regular, heavy alcohol use can damage the liver, leading to inflammation and scarring. This might raise the risk of liver cancer.
Colon and rectal cancer: Alcohol use has been linked with a higher risk of cancers of the colon and rectum. The evidence for this is generally stronger in men than in women, but studies have found the link in both sexes.
Breast cancer: Even a few drinks a week is linked with an increased risk of breast cancer in women. This risk may be especially high in women who do not get enough folate (a B vitamin) in their diet or through supplements. Alcohol can also raise estrogen levels in the body, which may explain some of the increased risk. Cutting back on alcohol may be an important way for many women to lower their risk of breast cancer.

Does the type of alcohol matter?

Ethanol is the type of alcohol found in alcoholic drinks, whether they are beers, wines, liquors (distilled spirits), or other drinks. Alcoholic drinks contain different percentages of ethanol, but in general, a standard size drink of any type — 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor — contains about the same amount of ethanol (about half an ounce). Of course, larger or ‘stronger’ drinks can contain more ethanol than this.

Overall, the amount of alcohol someone drinks over time, not the type of alcoholic beverage, seems to be the most important factor in raising cancer risk. Most evidence suggests that it is the ethanol that increases the risk, not other things in the drink.

How does alcohol raise cancer risk?

Exactly how alcohol affects cancer risk isn’t completely understood. In fact, there might be several different ways it can raise risk, and this might depend on the type of cancer.

Damage to body tissues

Alcohol can act as an irritant, especially in the mouth and throat. Cells that are damaged by the alcohol may try to repair themselves, which could lead to DNA changes that can be a step toward cancer.
Bacteria that normally live in the colon and rectum can convert alcohol into large amounts of acetaldehyde, a chemical that has been shown to cause cancer in lab animals.
Alcohol and its byproducts can also damage the liver, leading to inflammation and scarring. As liver cells try to repair the damage, they can end up with mistakes in their DNA, which could lead to cancer.

Effects on other harmful chemicals

Alcohol may help other harmful chemicals, such as those in tobacco smoke, enter the cells lining the upper digestive tract more easily. This might explain why the combination of smoking and drinking is much more likely to cause cancers in the mouth or throat than smoking or drinking alone.
In other cases, alcohol may slow the body’s ability to break down and get rid of some harmful chemicals.

Effect on absorption of folate or other nutrients

Alcohol might affect the body’s ability to absorb some nutrients, such as folate. Folate is a vitamin that cells in the body need to stay healthy. Absorption of nutrients can be even worse in heavy drinkers, who often have low levels of folate. These low levels may play a role in the risk of some cancers, such as breast and colorectal cancer.

Effects on estrogen or other hormones

Alcohol can raise the levels of estrogen, a hormone important in the growth and development of breast tissue. This could affect a woman’s risk of breast cancer.

Effects on body weight

Too much alcohol can add extra calories to the diet, which can contribute to weight gain in some people. Being overweight or obese is known to increase the risks of many types of cancer.
Along with these effects, alcohol may contribute to cancer growth in other, unknown ways.

Other long-term health effects from drinking alcohol

Most people know about the short-term effects of drinking alcohol, such as its effects on mood, concentration, judgment, and coordination. But alcohol can also have longer-term health effects. These can vary from person to person.
For some people, alcohol is addictive. Drinking can become heavier over time, leading to serious health and social problems. Heavy drinkers who suddenly stop drinking can have physical withdrawal symptoms such as tremors, confusion, hallucinations, seizures, and other serious problems over the next few days. In some people these can be life-threatening. This doesn’t mean that heavy drinkers should not stop drinking. It does mean that heavy drinkers should talk with their health care team about the safest way to stop drinking.
Over time, heavy drinking can cause inflammation (hepatitis) and heavy scarring (cirrhosis) in the liver. This can lead to liver failure. Heavy drinking can also damage other organs, such as the pancreas and the brain, and can raise blood pressure. It also increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.
In pregnant women, alcohol use, especially heavy drinking, may lead to birth defects or other problems with the fetus.
On the other hand, low to moderate alcohol use has been linked with a lower risk of heart disease in some people. Low to moderate use is usually defined as 1 or 2 drinks a day for a man or 1 drink a day for a woman. The potential benefit of lowering heart disease risk has to be weighed against the possible health risks for each person.

What does the American Cancer Society recommend?

As part of its guidelines on nutrition and physical activity for cancer prevention, the American Cancer Society recommends that people who drink alcohol limit their intake to no more than 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink a day for women.
The recommended limit is lower for women because of their smaller body size and because their bodies tend to break down alcohol more slowly. These daily limits do not mean it’s safe to drink larger amounts on fewer days of the week, which can still lead to health, social, and other problems.
Alcohol use has been linked to several types of cancer and other health risks, but this is complicated by the fact that low-to-moderate alcohol intake has been linked with a lower risk of heart disease. Still, lowering the risk of heart disease is not a compelling reason for adults who don’t drink alcohol to start.
There are many ways to reduce heart disease risk, including avoiding smoking, eating a diet low in saturated and trans fats, staying at a healthy weight, staying physically active, and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol.
According to the 2010 US Dietary Guidelines for Americans, some groups of people should not drink alcoholic beverages at all. These include:
  • Children and teens
  • People who cannot limit their drinking or who are recovering from alcoholism
  • Women who are or may become pregnant
  • People who plan to drive or operate machinery
  • People who take part in other activities that require attention, skill, or coordination or in situations where impaired judgment could cause injury or death
  • People taking prescription or over-the-counter medicines that interact with alcohol
  • People with certain medical conditions (such as liver disease or pancreatitis)

Alcohol use during and after cancer treatment

Many studies have found a link between alcohol intake and the risk of developing certain cancers. But it is not clear whether alcohol use after treatment might increase the risk of these cancers coming back (recurring). In theory, it’s possible that alcohol use might raise the risk of recurrence. For example, alcohol can increase the levels of estrogens in the body, which might increase the risk for breast cancer recurrence. But there is no strong evidence from studies to support this.
In people who have already been diagnosed with cancer, alcohol intake could also affect the risk of developing a new cancer.
There are some cases during cancer treatment in which alcohol clearly should be avoided. For example, alcohol – even in very small amounts – can irritate mouth sores caused by some cancer treatments, and can even make them worse. Alcohol can also interact with some drugs used during cancer treatment, which might increase the risk of harmful side effects. It’s important to talk with your doctor about this if you are being treated for cancer.
But for people who have completed cancer treatment, the effects of alcohol on cancer recurrence risk are largely unknown. It’s important to discuss this with your doctor. Factors that can be important include:
  • The type of cancer
  • Your risk of recurrence
  • Your treatment(s) 
  • Your overall health
  • Other possible risks and benefits of drinking

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master's-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Alcohol Consumption & Cancer?

Is There a Correlation Between Alcohol Consumption and Cancer Risk?

September 06, 2017
too-many-drinks.jpg (1) Many people know that excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages can lead to numerous health problems. However, some are unaware that researchers have linked heavy drinking to an increased risk of several types of cancer, including cancers of the mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum, breast, pancreas and stomach.
Additionally, a research study performed at Moffitt Cancer Center has shown that men who consume excessive amounts of alcohol have a greater risk of becoming infected with human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that has been found to contribute to the development of a number of cancers in women, including cervical, vaginal and anal cancers.
But, that is not the whole story. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), low-to-moderate alcohol intake can actually lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Even so, given the known risks of alcohol consumption – cancer, high blood pressure, obesity, stroke, alcoholism and accidents, to name a few – the AHA does not recommend that people start drinking alcohol solely for its protective effect on heart health. Instead, the AHA advises people who choose to drink to do so in moderation and to make other lifestyle changes, such as exercising, that can provide cardiovascular benefits.
Similarly, as part of its cancer prevention guidelines, the American Cancer Society recommends that people who drink alcohol limit their intake to:
  • No more than two alcoholic drinks per day for men
  • No more than one alcoholic drink per day for women
Different guidelines apply to men and women because women tend to be more vulnerable to the adverse effects of alcohol. That’s because women generally have a lower body mass than men, and their bodies also have a tendency to break down alcohol more slowly, meaning that a higher concentration of alcohol is absorbed into the blood.
If you have questions about alcohol consumption and cancer risk, you can arrange to talk with an oncologist at Moffitt Cancer Center by calling 1-888-663-3488 or completing a new patient registration form online. No referrals are necessary.

This data came from the Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Florida
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Monday, 25 June 2018

Letter to Pelham Voice:Compassion

It is sad but interesting that writer Julie Mannell is compassionate to all except Sam Oosterhoff because she makes assumptions about his beliefs without actually talking to him. At least I will assume that she has not talked to him as she has him pegged by modern stereotypes, which are still stereotypes.

Why cannot Julie have compassion for one of the least accepted groups in our society, people who believe like Sam?
Is he anti-anything? How do we know? We only know from talking to an individual. I believe Sam might shock her as a very compassionate person. Just because someone may disagree with someone else does not make them wrong nor does it make them evil. And yet Julie has proclaimed him as such. Maybe taking a positive approach would be more compassionate. What is he for? Doesn’t he have any redeeming qualities?

And at the same time, she has proclaimed that the majority who voted for Sam are also hateful evil people. After all, if they voted for Sam, then they must be just like him.

Julie, it really is time that you are compassionate for all, even those you disagree with. Selective compassion is not compassion at all. It is just making choices in our beliefs as to who we should care about. Your choices are not any more correct than anyone else’s.

Assumptions we should realize lead to beliefs that are false and judgemental, not objective and true. The very heart of liberalism used to be an acceptance of all. I guess that day is past just like the Comfort Maple is passing as well.

Charles G Pedley BA MSED MUI

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Minimum Wages Rise = Unemployment!

[From the Fraser Institute Forum -
Of course Wynne lost the election last Thursday, June 7 and will be replaced by Doug Ford. Hopefully Ford has done some research in this area! - Editor]

Wynne and other liberal do-gooders think that there are primary wage-earners making very little money such as those at Tim Horton's, McDonalds etc.

But having done NO RESEARCH which is the liberal way of taking gut-feelings and making laws about them, of course it results in unemployment!

[Below the Fraser Institute shows the consequences of unresearched pay-raise blundering. - Editor]

When the Ontario government announced its plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour last month, Premier Kathleen Wynne made a glaringly false statement about the reality of minimum wage earners. Specifically, she said:
“Millions of workers in Ontario are finding it almost impossible to support their families on a minimum wage that just doesn’t go far enough.”
Let’s clarify the facts.

For starters, Ontario has 633,000 minimum wage earners in the province—not “millions,” as Premier Wynne claims. There’s not a slight difference between reality and what the premier claims. At the very least, we’re talking about an overstatement of more than three times—or 216 per cent!

But who are these 633,000 minimum wage earners in Ontario and are they actually struggling to support their families on a minimum wage job, as Premier Wynne suggests?
Thankfully, they generally are not.

According to Statistics Canada data , most minimum wage earners in Ontario are not the primary or sole earner in their household. In fact, 60 per cent are teenagers or youth aged 15 to 24, the vast majority of which (86 per cent) live with their parents or other relatives.
Another 19 per cent of minimum wage earners in Ontario are married with employed spouses, nearly all (90 per cent) of whom earn more than the minimum wage or are self-employed.

Just two per cent of minimum wage earners in Ontario are single parents with a young child.
Given all this, it shouldn’t be surprising that the vast majority of minimum wage workers—85 per cent , in fact—do not live in low-income households, as defined by Statistics Canada’s low income cut-off , a common measure of low income.

Yet even though most minimum wage earners in Ontario do not belong to households classified as low-income by Statistics Canada, some may still think raising the minimum wage is a good idea because it could help many low-wage workers make ends meet. But as we’ve written before , and despite good intentions, it is not. And that’s because of unintended consequences from the policy that reduce employment opportunities for the most vulnerable and least-skilled workers.

When you combine the facts on who actually earns the minimum wage—generally not people who are primary or sole breadwinners in their families—with the negative consequences on employment for the least-skilled workers, it becomes abundantly clear that the minimum wage is an ineffective policy for helping the most vulnerable.
Premier Wynne should get her facts straight.
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Charles Lammam Hugh MacIntyre

Fraser Institute Forum