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Does Alcohol Consumption Increase Cancer Risk?

Many people believe that drinking low amount of wine is good for blood vessels and the heart. Some others think that beer is supporting kidney function. There might be some truth in it, but new studies reveal that the harm of alcohol is more significant than its benefit.

Alcohol Consumption Increase Cancer Risk

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How Does Alcohol Consumption Increase Cancer Risk?

Almost all human cells contain DNA, which is the cell’s “instruction manual.” It controls all cell functions and regulates growth and controlled cell replacement. Certain damages in DNA can promote cancer growth.

  • Damaging your DNA
    When you drink alcohol, your body breaks it down to a molecule, which is called acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is a toxic substance that damages your DNA and prevents your body from repairing the damage.
  • Hormone changes
    Alcohol can increase the levels of some hormones, such as estrogen and insulin. Hormones can interact with your DNA and give your cells instructions – including when to grow and divide.
  • Increased absorption
    Alcohol can affect the cells between the mouth and throat, which may make it easier for other cancer-causing substances to enter the body.

Drinking alcohol raises your risk of getting various types of cancer:

  • Esophagus
  • Liver
  • Breast
  • Skin
  • Oral
  • Throat
  • Larynx
  • Gastric
  • Pancreas
  • Colorectal

Is it worse if I drink and smoke?

Many people smoke and drink alcohol at the same time. Using both together will cause more damage to cells in the body. You inhale many cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco. When you drink alcohol, those chemicals can be easier absorbed into the body and do more harm.

How does alcohol affect your cancer risk?

According to a 2013 study, compared with not zero alcohol drinking, drinking even one alcoholic drink per day is linked with

  • 5 percent increase in the risk of breast cancer
  • 17 percent increase in the risk of oropharyngeal cancer
  • 30 percent increase in the risk of esophageal cancer