For centuries, alcoholic beverages have been an indispensable part of many cultures. However, given its health implications, continued alcohol abuse has been responsible for a significant economic and social burden. Even moderate drinking is associated with serious health consequences, like cirrhosis and cancers. Heavy drinking is responsible for psychological damage, leading to conditions such as paranoia, depression and psychosis.
From various research, it has emerged that alcohol causes seven types of cancer. There is also an increased risk of certain mouth and throat cancers in people who drink and smoke. The lead researcher of a study, Jennie Connor of the University of Otago in New Zealand, analyzed reviews conducted by World Cancer Research Fund, the American Institute for Cancer Research and the International Agency for Research on Cancer over the last 10 years. She found that alcohol use has led to about half a million deaths from cancer in 2012 alone and nearly 5.8 percent of cancer deaths worldwide.
Although people who indulge in heavy drinking are at the highest risk, those who drink at moderate levels are also not spared from the miseries inflicted by alcohol. “Even without complete knowledge of biological mechanisms [of how alcohol causes cancer], the epidemiological evidence can support the judgment that alcohol causes cancer of the oropharynx, larynx, oesophagus, liver, colon, rectum and breast,” she added.
Connor added that no amount of consistent drinking holds fewer health risks. No matter whether the alcoholic beverage is wine, beer or any other form of liquor, an individual’s risk increases with the amount of alcohol consumed over a period of time. The authors stressed upon the fact that men ought to consume no more than 14 units of alcohol per week, down from the past 21 units. Women are strictly advised not to exceed this limit.
Types of cancer
Let us understand how regular drinking affects various body organs and raises the likelihood of being affected by cancer:
- Liver cancer: Chronic heavy alcohol use can cause acute damage to the liver, from fatty liver to acute alcoholic hepatitis and liver cirrhosis. Among heavy drinkers, building up of fats in the liver cells is quite common. As a result, the liver fails to flush out the toxins and other substances from the body. Moreover, if the liver disease is present or cancer has spread extensively by the time of diagnosis, treatment can often be obstructed.
- Colon cancer: Colon health is something people often ignore and is barely echoed through campaigns, unlike breast or prostate health awareness. However, the authors highlighted the besides lung cancer, colon cancer is the second deadliest form of cancer and should be identified properly.
- Breast cancer: About one in eight women (12 percent) in the U.S. are likely to develop invasive breast cancer over a lifetime. Alcohol causes estrogen levels to rise in the body, which might aid the growth of cancel cells.
- Rectal cancer: Although rectal cancer is quite similar to colon cancer, they are not exactly the same and differ in treatments. If an individual does not want to deal with either of the two, staying away from alcohol is the only option.
- Laryngeal cancer: Larynx is the voice box situated in the throat that controls the vocal cords and forms the passage to the lungs. When a person engages in heavy or regular drinking, he/she may be at risk of affecting the voice and acquiring laryngeal cancer.
- Esophageal cancer: Esophagus is the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. When an individual involves in unhealthy drinking patterns, esophageal cancer is likely to knock one’s door.
- Oropharyngeal cancer: Oropharynx is the part of the throat and digestive system that includes the base of the tongue, tonsils, palate and pharynx. Drinking too much of alcoholic beverages affect this passage and increase the chances of oropharyngeal cancer.
Avoid alcohol and seek treatment
Apart from causing several types of cancer, alcohol consumption is also associated with impaired personal and social relationships, financial difficulties, unemployment, homelessness, mental disorders like depression and paranoia, and untimely death. By adopting healthy lifestyle practices instead of choosing alcohol, one can live a healthy and happy life.
The Alcohol Addiction Helpline of California helps those addicted to alcohol by offering useful information about alcohol addiction treatment facilities in California. Call our 24/7 helpline 855-980-1715 or contact us over chat to get information on inpatient treatment for alcoholism in California.Continue reading