Ask the Pharmacist: Pancreatic cancer is our next epidemic

Suzy Cohen

Last night I watched a classic movie from 1934 called, “It Happened One Night” starring Clark Gable and Caudette Colbert. The two lovebirds smoked throughout the whole movie. It was what people did, especially the socialites and the wealthy. 

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Smoking used to be in vogue until decades later, the correlation was revealed between carcinogens in cigarettes and lung cancer. It’s going to be the same with wine and pancreatic cancer, liver or colon cancer.
I’m worried you’re trading in your pancreas for your heart. Why? Because there was a study more than seven years ago that found a link between pancreatic cancer and alcohol use. More specifically, three or more drinks a day is associated with increased risk of death from pancreatic cancer.

A stock image of multiple bottles of alcohol.

Did everyone forget that alcohol is a free radical that destroys every cell in its path? It’s your liver that sends out antioxidants to neutralize the alcohol damage, but that’s one of the organs that alcohol targets for destruction. Changes in the NAD to NADH ratio occur inside your cells.  Alcohol consumption leads to Alcoholic Liver Disease (ALD). So, your own defense against alcohol will be rendered useless to the oxidative damage that occurs with every sip. That’s not good for your heart, you know.

Alcohol intake is a modifiable risk factor just like other modifiable risk factor including obesity, smoking, being sedentary, exposing yourself to chemicals in parabens in cosmetics, acrylic nails, pesticides, fabric softeners and hair colorants.
Life is a little journey with a million beautiful moments and it makes me sad to think that you are unknowingly hurting yourself due to propaganda.

From a scientific standpoint, you’d have to consume approximately 10 bottles of wine (bottles, not glasses) to have a therapeutic dose of resveratrol to activate PGC-1 alpha, or to benefit your heart. So, all the propaganda to drink red wine with dinner each night for “heart health” is negligent, potentially harmful and ultimately irresponsible:

The stuff is pitched to us as if it’s a missing mineral or vitamin, but this is so silly if you think about it. Cigarette smoking accounts for over 480,000 deaths annually, just in the United States. It encompasses more than 41,000 deaths from inhaling secondhand smoke. This is 1,300 deaths every day and it’s an uncomfortable passing. On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers. What will the headlines read in 10 years about alcohol-related pancreatic cancer?
With that in mind, consider what you’re drinking tonight, and how much of it. My take home point is that you can make changes today that improve your general health, and lower your risk for cancer, and essentially allow the people who love you, to love you longer! 

I hold to my main point which is that liquor, beer and red wine are not like vitamins for your heart and if you think that they are, consider today’s blog your official warning. You have an opportunity to modify your intake of these oxidative chemicals before it’s too late. 

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Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit