Quiz: The Alcohol-Cancer Connection

Laura A. Stokowski, RN, MS

Disclosures

November 23, 2015

Reports of a connection between alcohol, smoking, and cancer of the oral cavity began appearing in the scientific literature in the 1950s-1960s.[7,8] During that period, no explanation for this connection was offered other than the fact that smoking and drinking are related behaviors. It is now believed that the combined exposure to alcohol drinking and tobacco smoking results in a supramultiplicative synergistic effect that enhances the risk for these neoplasms up to 14-fold among persons who both smoke and drink heavily.[9] Alcohol is believed to act as a solvent for carcinogens in cigarette smoke and render the mucosa more permeable to these carcinogens.[10]

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