Alcohol intake is a leading modifiable cause related to cancer-specific deaths. Various alcohol intake patterns have shown to impact cancer progression differently, however, many studies only evaluated simplified patterns of alcohol intake for cancer survivors. Dr. Hui-Yi Lin, associate professor at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center School of Public Health and a team of researchers conducted a study to provide population-based prevalence of the complex alcohol drinking patterns for cancer survivors and compare it with that of non-cancer individuals.
A total of 193,197 individuals, including 16,504 cancer survivors, with age ≥18 years old in the 2012–2017 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) were included in this study. There were 62.1 percent of cancer survivors and 66.0 perent of non-cancer individuals who were current alcohol drinkers. The prevalence of heavy drinking was identical for 5.2 percent of cancer and non-cancer individuals. For frequent binge drinking, cancer survivors tended to have less frequent binges than non-cancer individuals. After adjusting for the selected demographic factors and smoking status, the cancer survivors were less likely to have the intermediate level of alcohol intake compared with non-cancer individuals.
In summary, cancer survivors have similar excessive alcohol drinking patterns but were less likely to have the intermediate level of alcohol intake compared to non-cancer individuals. Alcohol intake may enhance cancer progression, interfere with cancer treatments and increase cancer-related mortality. To improve cancer survivors’ health, custom alcohol interventions and cessation programs should be conducted to minimize alcohol intake for cancer survivors, especially for excessive alcohol drinkers.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on August 09