Drinking alcohol increases the risks of various types of cancers. Medical experts point out that in addition to smoking cigarettes (tobacco) and increasing body weight, alcohol is one of the most common causes of cancer.
If data from the CDC is to be believed, more than 6% of all cancer cases that emerge every year in the United States have alcohol as their cause. What is even more striking is the fact that more than 4% of all cancer-related deaths in the US take place because of alcohol.
While there is a lot of information, documents, and case studies linking alcohol with cancer, there is still a lot of ignorance on the subject. In this article, we are going to demystify the link between alcohol consumption and the possibility of getting cancer.
Additionally, we are going to focus on some of the major forms of cancer that one can get from drinking alcohol. If you are concerned about this topic or want to educate someone who you know is going downhill, this article will be able to help you.
How does Alcohol end up Causing Cancer: What you should know?
In this section, we will try to establish a direct relationship between drinking alcohol and getting cancer. First things first. No matter how less you drink alcohol, you stand the risk of cancer. However, medical experts point out that drinking alcohol does not mean that you will automatically get cancer.
So, what is at work here?
Specifically, two major things-
- Firstly, alcohol and cancer depend a lot on age. This means that once you start aging, your body’s natural immunity starts getting weaker. When it does, it makes the cells of the body more susceptible to cancer.
- Secondly, many studies have pointed out that a good way to understand cancer is by looking at genetics. All human beings have different genetic makeup. The different cell build-up means that some can and some cannot get cancer.
There are three major ways how alcohol ends up causing cancer.
- The first thing that alcohol ends up doing is damaging the cells of the human body. It also limits the ability of our cells to naturally repair and regenerate themselves.
- Alcohol results in confused and mixed chemical signals that are sent to the cells. Experts point out that this increases the chances of the cells turning cancerous.
- Lastly, alcohol starts acting as a safe passage for the harmful entry of several harmful chemical substances into the body.
Cancer Types that are associated with Excessive Alcohol Consumption
There are a number of preventable risk factors associated with a variety of different cancer types, a topic covered in this Miskawaan Integrative Cancer Care blog post. One lifestyle choice associated with several different cancer types is excessive consumption of alcohol. Read on to learn more about the different types of cancer that are linked to drinking too much and too often.
1. Liver Cancer
Drinking heavily to moderate amounts of alcohol can limit liver function. Studies show that drinking alcohol leads to inflammation of the liver. Post this, increased consumption leads to scarring and begins the onset of cancer. Liver cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer from alcohol. The properties of alcohol significantly end up damaging the liver in humans.
2. Breast Cancer-
In a landmark study conducted in the UK, scientists found that more than 4000 breast cancer-related deaths were related to alcohol. The scientific explanation of the same is that the properties of alcohol increase estrogen levels in women. Doctors point out if you want to reduce the risks of breast cancer, you should reduce or completely stop drinking alcohol.
3. Cancers in the Mouth and Throat-
We have already mentioned how alcohol acts as a safe passage for other harmful chemicals, most notably tobacco. This can lead to several cancers in the esophagus, larynx, soundbox, cavity, and throat. People who smoke and drink are at increased risk of contracting any of the above cancers. It is best that you try to do both of these at one go for it is quite dangerous.
4. Colon Cancer-
A study of men who had contracted colon or bowel cancer revealed that there was a link with alcohol. While men are more susceptible to colon cancer from an alcohol association, women should not think that this is something that cannot affect them. It does not matter what kind of alcohol you are consuming; you stand the risk of contracting colon cancer.
The Bottom Line
In recent years, there have been several resources floating in the webspace outlining the benefits of drinking alcohol. To be brutally honest, all of them have been struck down as being inconclusive by the authorities. In short, alcohol does not have any proven health benefits.
In this article, we have tried to discuss and establish a direct correlation between drinking alcohol and increasing the risks of cancer. If you would like us to address any specific question, that might be on your mind, please reach out to us in the comments below.