• alcohol &treatment

    Asked by channing2623 on Tuesday, January 8, 2019

    alcohol &treatment

    I was curious if it was acceptable to consume alcohol during rads.

    15 Answers from the Community

    15 answers
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      I was told that none is better, but a glass of wine or a beer wouldn't be a problem.

      5 months ago
    • SandiA's Avatar
      SandiA

      I was told no. My oncologist told me to go home and have one last cold beer. I don’t like beer so I had a sangria instead. After radiation and on immunotherapy I was told the occasional wine cooler would be okay. Less than one a week.

      5 months ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      The AICR recommends you abstain. But, if you just can't, stick to one small drink only.

      I have a small frozen margarita about 3 times a year. If that. I might drink a glass of wine two or three times a year. So, i don't totally abstain, but i sure don't make a habit of consuming alcohol.

      5 months ago
    • carm's Avatar
      carm

      As a nurse I can tell you that alcohol promotes dehydration and radiation takes the moisture out of the area it targets so it's never good to mix the two.

      5 months ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      I was told that women (or men) who had breast cancer should avoid alcohol in general, not only during treatment. Very occasional drinks are probably okay, but it's better to avoid it most of the time. I was told this twenty years ago and read that doctors are still saying this.

      5 months ago
    • Gumpus61's Avatar
      Gumpus61

      I am going against the grain here folks. I would question the reflexive nature of this kind of don't do it crap from Doctors. Drinking has been a coping mechanism for my wife her entire life. Getting Cancer has not changed that. Can it be done to excess, yes of course. Moderation in all things is the simple answer. As I sat with my wife and her doctor last week I made this simple observation. "Ann, how much pain have you felt from your cancer".....the answer was 1 day. So the last 5 years of treatment Horror have been the cause of every darn thing that is wrong with her today. We have delayed treatment 3 or 4 times, it HAS NOT CHANGED the outcome once. Here we are at 5 years after 7 cycles of treatment and her Cancer is at Bay again for now, It was caused by a gene defect, not wine. How we should deny what a patient finds comfortable is beyond me. Have a few drinks and bark at the moon........I think alchohol and Cancer are a dirty secret the system denies. They simply say don't because it is an easy answer to justify. Who wants to be responsible for saying it's ok to have a few drinks when it might have a bad end ? Nobody.

      5 months ago
    • JaneA's Avatar
      JaneA

      I believe that this is a question for your doctor. Every person is different and their treatment is customized. I never felt like drinking during my treatment.

      But I must admit that I have a brandy or wine a couple of times a week now.

      5 months ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      Gumpus61, for me, a beer or glass of wine every once in awhile is something I'll have when out with friends. However, I trust what doctors have said and continue to say for people who had certain cancers: Stay away from anything but occasional alcohol. Their advice is based on scientific studies. I'm not saying or implying, btw, that you don't know this about their advice. And I'm not saying that abstaining will prevent me or anyone else from a recurrence of cancer. Maybe I'm denying myself the pleasure of drinking even a glass of beer - and it IS fun to get tipsy while with friends who are drinking - for no good reason. Life is short. Still, staying away from drinking works for me.

      5 months ago
    • Gumpus61's Avatar
      Gumpus61

      My Point is, the doctors can say nothing else but no. Patients trust Doctors because they have to. As for the scientific studies you mention.....show me one that says occasional drinking harms cancer patients. Your reply above says it all....it is fun, and you do it in moderation with your friends. Who would have the right to deny that to you or someone else. With that said, there are a lot of medications that contraindicate alchohol, Lorazapam in Particular. So ask the doctor about moderate alchohol consumption and expect them to say it's not a good idea. Then ask what specific drugs you are on that alchohol makes less effective. The dangers are many, and pain killers and alchohol don't mix. But there are times when having a few is just fine.....as you have alluded to.

      5 months ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      There are studies showing that alcohol is implicated in helping cause breast cancers (and certainly many other cancers, of the oral cavity, liver, etc.). Google, please. Doctors aren't forcing anyone to not drink even in moderation; they're just putting out the latest info so we can choose to be better informed. And I believe that the majority of oncologists and other medical professionals treating cancer patients and survivors ARE benevolent, well-informed, and very intent on helping us. And I tend to he skeptical of many things and "authorities."

      Wishing you and your wife everything good. Here's to you two!

      5 months ago
    • Gumpus61's Avatar
      Gumpus61

      sigh.....the drink you had that caused your Cancer has nothing to do with the one you are holding in your hand. As for your statement about the qualities of medical professionals, I did not question their motivation or qualities and I certainly would not imply they are not well informed. What I said was they are giving the answers they HAVE to give. It's like the crap they feed you in hospitals when your in there with a fatal disease, Like a cheeseburger is what is going to kill you. The whole thing is a dice game and some folks just get snake eyes. The desire to find cause and logic is human, but is most often is just closing doors after the horse is gone. I have been a caregiver to two parents who have passed and a wife who is going to. The doctors tell folks who need human contact and affirmation to stay home because the white blood cell count is low. When the most positive thing they can do is go get a hug from a stranger who has lived that experience. My wife and patient used to think i was the smartest man she knows, now it is the doctor. So when I have to be smarter than the doctor by setting limits and standing up for my patient, I have to find a way to make it their idea. It works. So yes ! Here is to us !! and one for you as well Carool !

      5 months ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      I never said that drinking caused my cancer.

      Anyway, cheers!

      5 months ago
    • ChicagoSandy's Avatar
      ChicagoSandy

      Not all doctors are onboard the enforcing-sobriety train. Mine (PCP, MO, surgeon) all said moderation is the key--2 or 3 drinks a week (but not all at once) are okay. In fact, my PCP used to prescribe a daily glass of a good red, until he got my diagnosis of ER+ breast cancer--then he said instead of 3 5-oz. glasses a week, have 5 3-oz. glasses (alternating days) instead. So I bought a Coravin, which lets me enjoy 1-2 oz. and still keep the bottle fresh. And if there's no food that calls for a matching wine, I don't drink. (I occasionally attend monthly wine tastings and winemaker dinners: at the dinners I stop drinking a particular wine when I've finished the course paired with it--my tablemates are more than willing to finish my liquid leftovers; and I make liberal use of the discard/spit-buckets at tastings).

      The evidence, though, is still statistical--which in turn is retrospective, anecdotal, and flawed in that there are no control groups because of reliance on self-reporting by patients. In the case of ER+ cancers, the theory is that alcohol impairs the liver's ability to clear estrogen from the bloodstream; but by that logic, it also impairs the liver's ability to produce aromatase--the enzyme that is the catalyst for conversion of androgens into estrogens--which arguably enhances the action of the aromatase inhibitors we take. (But don't drink "Palomas" or "Sea Breezes" if you're on letrozole, because the grapefruit juice in them occupies the same metabolic pathway as that AI and thus makes the drug less effective).

      I imagine that if you're premenopausal and taking Tamoxifen instead, the prohibition might make more sense, as aromatase does not act on estrogen produced by the ovaries--so it's more vital to get whatever estrogen isn't already clogging up your tumor cells' hormone receptors out of your system. As to benzodiazepenes (Xanax, Ativan, Valium), avoid alcohol while they're in your system--regardless of cancer.

      And there's no evidence nor credible scientific theory that alcohol is a factor in ER- gynecological or breast cancers. However, it does make sense that during a course of radiotherapy (the original question) it's prudent to avoid substances that dehydrate you--or to double or triple your water intake.

      5 months ago
    • debsweb18's Avatar
      debsweb18

      My doctor told me it was okay to have up 2 4 drinks a week. I rarely have more than 1 during a day. Twice during the last 7 years, during cruises I had 2 drinks a day for 9 days. I was told that was ok since we have to live life! Just don't go on vacation every month :)

      5 months ago
    • ChicagoSandy's Avatar
      ChicagoSandy

      I will make one correction of a typo in my previous post--should read "...more vital to get whatever estrogen that hasn't been blocked by Tamoxifen already clogging up your tumor cells' hormone receptors out of your system."

      5 months ago

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