Can You Be at Risk for Cancer?
We know that alcohol abuse can lead to many problems in an alcoholic’s life. Problems with finances, work or school and relationships arise when you put drinking ahead of your responsibilities. However, there is a lot more damage being done and it’s happening right under our noses…literally. Drinking alcohol is linked to an increased risk of many types of cancers.
5 Ways Alcohol Can Lead to Cancer
Alcohol affects the body in several negative ways, and not just as hangovers. Some of these harmful effects can lead to cancer.
- Damage to body tissues: Alcohol can cause damage the tissue in the mouth and throat because of its chemicals. Alcohol acts as an irritant and damages cells, preventing the cells from repairing themselves. These changes can lead to the cells becoming cancerous.
- Effects on other harmful chemicals: Alcohol may help other harmful chemicals enter the lining of cells found in the upper digestive tract. This happens especially when someone combines drinking alcohol and smoking, which is a common combination. Alcohol can also slow the breakdown and eliminate harmful chemicals in the body.
- Lower levels of folate: Drinking alcohol may also lower the body’s ability to absorb folate, an essential B vitamin. This can raise the risk of breast cancer and colorectal cancers.
- Effects on estrogen: Research done by the University of Chicago has shown that alcohol intake can increase the levels of estrogen, an important hormone, but too much of it can increase the risk of breast cancer and can also cause breast cancer to come back after being in remission.
- Effects on body weight: Alcohol adds calories, about 7 calories per gram, and has more calories than protein and carbohydrates. Depending on the amount of alcohol you consume, your caloric intake can be causing you to tip the scale.
Types of Cancers Linked to Alcohol Abuse
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the strongest link between alcohol and cancer exists with cancers of the mouth, throat, voice box and esophagus or upper digestive track. The risk of these cancers increases as the drinker consumes more alcohol. Some of the cancers linked to alcohol consumption include:
- Esophagus and oral cancers: (mouth, throat, voice box). Alcohol alone and especially combined with smoking can increase the risk of these cancers. Alcohol may help tobacco damage body tissue.
- Liver: Long-term, heavy drinking has been associated with liver cancer. Long-term alcohol use can damage the liver, leading to inflammation, which may increase the risk of liver cancer.
- Colon and rectum: According to the National Cancer Institute, drinking three or more alcoholic drinks a day increases the risk of colorectal cancer. Research shows that men who drink alcohol have a greater risk of cancers of the colon and rectum.
- Breast: Drinking alcohol increases the risk of invasive ductal carcinoma, a major form of breast cancer.
What Can I Do to Prevent This?
There are a lot of health risks related to alcohol consumption. Although a person may have other factors that can put them at risk for cancer, drinking alcohol definitely increases the risk. Reducing the amount of alcohol consumed or eliminating alcohol altogether can help lower the risk of cancer and other diseases.
Call Now and Make the Best Choice of Your Life
If you feel that you can not go without drinking alcohol, then you may have an alcohol addiction. Stepping Stone Center can help break the cycle of addiction. Stepping Stone Center offers quality treatment for alcohol addiction. Call Stepping Stone Center at 866-957-4960 and lead a healthier and sober life.