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Should Alcohol Come with Cancer Warning Labels?

doctor discusses alcohol and cancer

Currently in the US, alcohol is sold with a warning from the Surgeon General, indicating that alcohol may lead to birth defects when consumed by pregnant women, can impair your ability to drive a car, and may lead to “health problems”.  This last warning is deceptively vague, and may be strategically written to withhold some deeply concerning information from the public. While most people are aware that excessive alcohol use can lead to liver disease, a recent study found that less than half of the adult population is aware of the connection between alcohol use and cancer.   Research conducted over the last several years has continued to confirm an alarming connection between alcohol use and cancer, especially colon and breast cancer.  This new data indicates that even one drink a day may increase the risk of certain cancers. With approximately 90,000 Americans developing cancer every year that can be tied to alcohol consumption, it is beyond worrisome that most Americans are unaware of this correlation.  An increased effort to inform consumers of the risks of smoking is largely credited with a reduction in smoking-related illnesses, including lung cancer. Hoping for a similar result, several public health agencies are requesting a change in labeling requirements alcoholic beverages. Arguments against the change in warning labels mostly come from the alcohol industry which claims these changes are unnecessary and will only create an irrational fear of alcohol.  Studies conducted in countries that have already implemented similar policies, however, found that more thorough warnings do affect alcohol consumption, and may help protect those most at risk of alcohol abuse and adverse health effects.  Though alcohol consumption is becoming less popular, there is still a great deal of misinformation and ignorance when it comes to the mental and physical health repercussions of drinking. Since the alcohol industry has the most to lose if the public becomes more informed, it seems that our policies should conform to the advice of health experts rather than those making money from alcohol sales.

In addition to the many serious health consequences of alcohol use, there is also a significant risk of addiction.  If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, now is the time to reach out for help. At Arbor Behavioral Healthcare, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  The Arbor uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, and at The Arbor you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 844-413-2690.