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Is There a Safer Way for Cancer Patients to Consume Grilled Meat and Alcohol?

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Published on March 27, 2018

Summertime kick-backs with friends and family often involve the grill and some alcoholic beverages, but are these safe for myeloma patients to consume? Can they interfere with treatment? Diet and wellness expert Julie Lanford from Cancer Services and Cancerdietitian.com explains the risks associated with alcohol and grilled meat for those living with multiple myeloma, and she shares guidelines for how patients can enjoy eating and drinking. Watch now to learn more about eating well with myeloma. 

Produced by Patient Power. We thank Celgene, Takeda, Amgen and AbbVie for their support.    

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Transcript | Is There a Safer Way for Cancer Patients to Consume Grilled Meat and Alcohol?

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That's how you’ll get care that's most appropriate for you.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Andrew Schorr:         

Alcohol. It is crazy making just for the general public, drink wine, don't drink wine. Have red wine, have white wine. In the cancer context, and maybe applying it to multiple myeloma, what about alcohol, and what about wine?

Julie Lanford:             

All right, so, alcohol itself is a Class 1 carcinogen, so I think people need to understand, "Okay, well, alcohol does increase risk of cancer when you drink too much of it."

If somebody does not drink alcohol, I don't recommend that they start, and the guidelines about red wine being good for your heart, they changed those, in case anyone missed it a couple years ago.

The [American] Heart Association kind of threw that away and said, "Actually, we don't think that's necessarily true." Certainly, people want to—if they wanna enjoy alcohol, it's fine.

Research shows as long as it's in moderation, there's not a significant increase in risk, so moderation is defined as one drink a day for women, or two drinks a day for men.

Can't save those up for the weekend, so once your day's over, your drinks are gone. I would not recommend that you drink every single day. Again, that's a habit that I don't think we would necessarily call a healthy habit. It's fine to have some.

The increase in risk that we see in terms of cancer is really seen more in head and neck types of cancers, esophageal cancers. Specifically for myeloma, I'm not sure about the alcohol link, but in general for cancer, there is a link there.

Again, if it's in moderation that people are consuming it, it's fine, realizing that a 5-ounce glass of wine is one drink. One and a half ounces, or a shot, is a drink. Sometimes, we might be having multiple drinks in one glass and not realize it.

Andrew Schorr:         

Right. One last question. Danny, just bear with me one second. We just finished the summer. Grilling out, and again, charcoal, grills, cooking your steak, et cetera. There was something about cancer properties related to that.

Julie Lanford:             

Yes. Yes, charred meats. Now, this does not apply to cooking vegetables or carbohydrates on a grill. It basically applies to protein foods, so meats, and when the flame touches the meat, it turns it into a char, and that charred piece has been linked to colon cancer. Common sense things.

Don't grill all your meat. Then, other things you can do, you can marinate the meat, and that marinade protects it. You can make sure you're grilling it not too high of a temperature where the flame touches the meat.

Some people will actually pre-cook their and then just finish them on the grill. Yes, there is a link with those charred pieces, but again, how often and how much are you exposing your body to those?

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.