Extensive alcohol consumption associated with cancer survivors

As part of a study, published in the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, researchers found abnormal drinking habits among cancer survivors, indicating extensive alcohol consumption, at least five cups a day, associated with people who have a history of a cancer diagnosis.

The findings were the result of examined responses from the National Health Interview Survey, where more than 34,000 adult participants were assessed for alcohol drinking prevalence between 2000 to 2017.

“Alcohol use is an established risk factor for several malignancies and is associated with adverse oncologic outcomes among individuals diagnosed with cancer. The prevalence and patterns of alcohol use among cancer survivors are poorly described,” the study reads.

“We used the National Health Interview Survey from 2000 to 2017 to examine alcohol drinking prevalence and patterns among adults reporting a cancer diagnosis.”

“Multivariable logistic regression was used to define the association between demographic and socioeconomic variables and odds of self-reporting as a current drinker, exceeding moderate drinking limits, and engaging in binge drinking. The association between specific cancer type and odds of drinking were assessed.”

Based on the results, of the participants with a history of cancer diagnosis, 56.6% were said to be current drinkers, 34.9% of which were moderate drinkers, and 21% were binge drinkers.

“Factors associated with higher odds of current drinking were male sex, better self-reported health status, younger age, white race, non-Hispanic ethnicity, higher income, higher education, current or former smoking status, and later survey period,” researchers noted.

Among the younger adults, all forms of alcohol consumption were evident, particularly those within the age range of 18-34. Alcohol consumption was also more present among current smokers, compared to their counterparts.

“This study shows a high prevalence of alcohol use among cancer survivors and as such has important public health implications,” the findings conclude. “Given the prognostic role of alcohol in cancer-specific outcomes, the factors contributing to this trend warrant further investigation.”

“For the time being, because oncologists have a responsibility to promote the overall health and well-being of their patients, efforts should be undertaken to accurately assess alcohol intake among cancer survivors and to inform these individuals of the potential harms associated with continued drinking.”