ALCOHOL, CANNABIS AND CANCER

I always try to link to professionals in the health promotion and cancer prevention fields. This is because both alcohol and cannabis (if smoked) are carcinogens.

This is the case regardless of whether individuals are dependent (alcoholic, addicted) users or non-dependent users, if they consume in risky levels or ways.

For example, a woman's risk for breast cancer, relative to a non-drinker, increases almost exponentially once she starts having the alcohol content equivalent of more than two 5 oz glasses of wine per day on a regular sustained basis.

From a population perspective the heavy burdens of disease and health system costs from alcohol are associated far more with non-addicted individuals who drink beyond Canada's Lower Risk Drinking Guidelines than with alcoholics. This is simply because the former are such a large portion of the population.

I continue to be perplexed as to why the chronic disease (cancer, stroke, diabetes) prevention community has not become more engaged in addressing risky levels of alcohol use.

This may be a symptom of the misconception still running through the health professions, including medicine, that the only significant problem with alcohol is that it is potentially addictive.