"ASCO believes that a proactive stance by the Society to minimize excessive exposure to alcohol has important implications for cancer prevention," the statement, which was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, said.
Although this announcement is unprecedented, the connection between alcohol and cancer has been known for some time, with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services going so far as to list alcohol as a known human carcinogen. But the exhortation is not as bleak as it sounds:
"The message is not, 'Don't drink.' It's, 'If you want to reduce your cancer risk, drink less. And if you don't drink, don't start,'" Noelle LoConte, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison who was the lead author of the ASCO statement, told The New York Times.
In the end, alcohol is only one risk factor when it comes to cancer, and disease in general, so experts recommend taking a holistic approach.
"It's good to look at where you are with diet and physical activity and look at places where you might improve and just start every day to take some simple steps to decrease your risk and improve your health," [Alice] Bender said. "A little bit of change can make a real difference."