Alcohol, Cancer Linked

By Donald P. Ames

The title of this article comes from the headlines of an article that appeared in the Newport (Ark.) Daily Independent, April 16, 1975, as UPI science editor Al Rossiter, Jr. reported on the vital statistics compiled by Dr. Frank A. Seixas, medical director of the National Council on Alcoholism. Although Dr. Seixas acknowledged there was no proof alcohol caused cancer, there was an abundance of evidence that chronic alcoholism is strongly linked with oral cancer and cancer of the esophagus. This link was even stronger when coupled with another habit-forming practice-smoking!

According to an interview in CA, a cancer journal published for’ doctors, Dr. Seixas found that those who smoked 40 cigarettes per day and drank more than three ounces of whiskey were 15 times more susceptible to oral cancer than the general public. And, according to another study, those who drank and smoked heavily had a risk of cancer of the esophagus 25 times that of the non-drinker.

Exactly why this risk is linked so closely with smoking and drinking was not readily known-but it was there! It seemed that the alcohol may have increased the activity of the cancer-causing agents already discovered in cigarette tars; or possibly slowed normal salivary flow, prolonging exposure to tobacco tars, according to Dr. Seixas. The risk increased directly with drinking (for instance, heavy drinkers were found to have 10 times the risk of moderate drinkers).

Considering the fact that the American Cancer Society estimates 24,000 Americans will get oral cancer (of which 8,000 will die of it) and 7,400 new cases of cancer of the esophagus will be found this year (with 6,500 deaths), why would any Christian want to risk his life and health on either drinking or smoking? Paul tells us our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, in which we are to glorify God (1 Cor. 6:16), and we are to present our bodies a living sacrifice to God (Rom. 12:12). Have you ever thought of God’s reaction if the Jews had willfully and indifferently selected a sick and diseased animal to sacrifice to God? Do you think He will be pleased if we present our bodies-and then seek to contaminate and destroy that which we offer to God (see Heb. 10:26-31)? Will God be satisfied with less than the best we can give Him?

Indeed, Christians need to beware the very appearance of evil (1 Thess. 5:22); and seek not to imitate what is evil, but what is good (3 John 11). Doing this, we will make no provision for the lusts of the flesh (Rom. 13:13-14). We will avoid becoming an occasion for stumbling to others (Matt. 18:7), but rather seek to be examples that will lead others closer to Christ (2 Cor. 3:2). Such is not only healthy, but pleasing to God, too-thus we win both ways! Indeed God’s ways are best, though Satan’s are hard to destroy when they get their grip upon us. Do you exercise self-control (2 Pet. 1:6), or yield to the addicting habit of drugs?

Truth Magazine XIX: 40, p. 632
August 21, 1975