Alcohol is a known carcinogen. It means that alcohol causes cancer. Drinking alcohol has been shown to raise women’s risk of malignancies of the female breast, liver, mouth, throat (pharynx and larynx), esophagus, and intestine. Heavy drinking has also been linked to an increased risk of stomach cancer.
In 2007, alcohol was estimated to account for 4% of all cancer deaths in people aged 80 and under in New Zealand, while in 2020, it is estimated to have caused 740 000 cancer cases globally.
For women, breast cancer was the most prevalent cause, whereas, for men, colon cancer was the most common cause.
According to the researchers, many of these cancers were connected to low or moderate drinking levels. However, because the hazards vary depending on how much alcohol you drink, the risk of these cancers increases as you drink more.
That risk can be considerably reduced by reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption. However, the effects of alcohol on people’s health are complicated. It impacts numerous sections of the body, and the severity of the effect is determined by factors such as heredity, nutrition, and lifestyle. All of these factors can impact a person’s cancer risk.
When we consume alcohol, our bodies must process the ethanol. This is a chemical compound that can be found in any form of alcoholic beverage. A bi-product called acetaldehyde is produced during this process, and this chemical reaction breaks our DNA. This process occurs primarily in the liver, but it can also occur in the mouth.
Hormones are also affected by alcohol. Hormones instruct our cells to do things like grow and divide. Alcohol has been discovered to raise estrogen levels in the body. The development of hormonal-based malignancies, such as breast cancer, is thought to be aided by estrogen-driven cell proliferation.
Because of the numerous contradictory signals we receive, understanding the long-term health implications of alcohol may be difficult. On the other hand, the study is precise: there is no solid evidence relating alcohol use to enhanced health. However, studies have found a direct relationship between drinking and the mouth, breast, and throat malignancies. Any amount of alcohol increases this risk.
While the link between alcohol and cancer is clear, it is essential to remember that not everyone who drinks alcohol will get cancer. And of course, many other factors can affect your risk of developing cancer, including genetics, lifestyle choices, and environmental factors.
If you are concerned about your risk of developing cancer, talk to your doctor about ways to reduce your risk. Quitting alcohol is one way to help lower your risk, but there are other things you can do as well, such as maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, and exercising regularly.
Find this health information interesting?
Subscribe to MediWell – your free digital magazine with trustworthy advice on a wide range of health and wellness topics.