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Clinical Oncology NewsRisky Drinking Common Among Cancer Survivors

Alarming Prevalence of Risky Drinking Among Cancer Survivors

A recent study published in JAMA Network Open has shed light on the prevalence of risky drinking behaviors among cancer survivors, even during their treatment. This alarming trend underscores the need for further research and interventions.

HCN Medical Memo
It’s crucial to be aware of this trend and consider its implications for patient care. The high prevalence of risky drinking among cancer survivors could potentially exacerbate health complications and hinder treatment efficacy. This calls for an integrated approach in cancer care that includes screening for alcohol use and providing necessary interventions.

Key Points

  • The study was a cross-sectional analysis of 15,199 adults with a cancer diagnosis from the All of Us Research Program.
  • A significant 77.7% of participants self-reported as current drinkers.
  • Among these, 13.0% exceeded moderate drinking (>2 drinks on a typical drinking day), and 23.8% reported binge drinking (≥6 drinks on a typical drinking day).
  • The study authors, led by Mengyao Shi, MBBS, MPH, highlighted that alcohol is associated with adverse health outcomes in people with a cancer diagnosis, including higher risks for recurrence or onset of new primary cancers as well as death.
  • Alcohol is also associated with worsened treatment outcomes, such as decreased effectiveness and increased risk for complications.
  • A meta-analysis involving 209,597 cancer survivors found that alcohol consumption was associated with a 17% increased risk for cancer recurrence and an 8% increased risk for overall mortality.

“We again highlight that alcohol consumption and risky drinking behaviors are common among cancer survivors, and we found that, among current drinkers, men, Hispanic individuals, those with cancer diagnosed before 18 years of age, and smokers are more likely to engage in risky drinking behaviors.”
Mengyao Shi, MBBS, MPH, Division of Public Health Sciences, Department of Surgery, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine

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