Alcohol consumption causes chemical and other physical changes in the body that can expose a person to cancer, according to researchers. New statistics states that drinking alcohol is directly responsible for 5% of new cancer cases and cancer-related deaths globally.
Alcohol and Types of Cancer
The chances of a person getting cancer from alcohol increases with increase in consumption rate. People who drink excessively are most likely to get cancer and to die from it. Chances of getting the disease is still high even for light drinkers.
Alcohol increases your chances of cancer in at least seven parts of your body. They include your:
Liver: The liver helps to get rid of toxins from the body and filters blood. The cells of liver can be destroyed by excessive alcohol intake. It can scar the liver, thereby exposing a person to liver cancer.
Mouth and throat: People who consume alcohol excessively are five times more likely to develop mouth and throat cancer. Alcohol damages cells in these tissues. The chances of getting this cancer becomes higher if a person smokes too because smoking creates way for harmful tobacco chemicals to get inside the cells of mouth and throat.
Breast: A woman’s risk of developing breast cancer increases with increase in alcohol consumption.
Esophagus: Esophageal cancer is very deadly. Chances of getting it increases with the number of drinks. Alcohol is especially likely to cause a cancer that develops in the lining of your esophagus called squamous cell carcinoma.
Colon and rectum: Men and women who drink heavily are likely to develop cancer in their colon or rectum.
Why Alcohol Can Be Damaging
Alcohol can cause different chemical changes in your body and damage your DNA because it gets into your cells easily. Reasons why alcohol is harmful includes:
DNA mutation: Alcohol can cause inflammation of your organs and tissues. As your body tries to repair itself, it can set off mistakes in your DNA that permits growth of cancerous cells.
Toxic chemicals: Alcohol contains a compound called ethanol. When your body breaks down the ethanol, it makes a compound that causes cancer.
Hormones: Alcohol can raise estrogen levels in women, which can fuel cancer growth.
Nutrients: Alcohol makes the body less able to absorb important vitamins and other nutrients that can affect risk of cancer.
Weight gain: Alcohol contains a lot of calories which can cause a drinker to become overweight thereby increasing the chances of many types of cancer.
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The risk of developing cancer may not necessarily be connected to what you drink. Non-drinkers still get cancer. However, a person chances of getting the disease increases if they consume more than four drinks in a day. Moderate drinking is up to one drink for women and up to two a day for men. You can consult your doctor if you are concerned about your alcohol intake.
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