Booze Flows Freely At Docs’ Anti-Alcohol Conference

File photo.

Docs rail against effects of alcohol, promptly adjourn for Happy Hour

| “The wine and beer was free and abundant”

SAN ANTONIO — On the first day here at the world’s largest breast cancer meeting, Mary Beth Terry, PhD, an epidemiologist from Columbia University in New York City, gave a late afternoon lecture about alcohol use and the associated risk of breast cancer.

Before delving into multiple studies, Terry challenged the audience at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium:

“Hopefully at the end of my brief talk…nobody will be going to get a margarita on the Riverwalk.”

Some delegates laughed nervously, but the teasing note — if that is what it was — was soon gone as the talk took on an unambiguously serious tone.

“Really, there’s no amount of alcohol that…would not be related to an increased risk of breast cancer,” she said, reviewing data from a 2016 pooled cohort analysis of 1 million women that looked at risk by intake amount, including “light” drinking.

“Seldom do we get such a nice dose-response relationship in epidemiology,” she observed.

For many years, epidemiologic studies have found a “consistent but modest association” of alcohol and breast cancer risk, Terry commented.

Regrettably, many Americans are unaware of the breast cancer-alcohol tie, she said toward the end of her talk, “Does Breast Cancer Prevention Need an 18th Amendment? New Evidence on Alcohol and Breast Cancer.” (The Eighteenth Amendment made alcohol illegal and ushered in the era of Prohibition in the United States.)

“Everybody should know this is a risk factor,” announced Terry.

The next day at the symposium, there was an end-of-day poster session, which was billed as providing “refreshments.”

At 5:00 pm, many of the 7,500 attendees streamed into Hall One of the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center to look at posters and seek refreshment.

The huge hall included five temporary bars, each operated by two bartenders and all doing a brisk, nonstop business. At 5:23 pm, there was a line 15 people deep at one bar.

Wines included pinot grigio (Woodbridge), Chardonnay (Sand Dollar), Moscato (Canyon Road), Chenin blanc (Stellenbosch Hills), and tempranillo (Lost Maples). The beers were heavy on low-calorie varieties (Miller Lite, Bud Light, Coors Light, Michelob Ultra Light) but also included regular lagers (Corona, Shiner Bock). Beer Vending Machines Are Legal HERE

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