Excessive alcohol is often associated with liver diseases. Since liver is responsible for metabolizing alcohol, it is more prone to alcohol-related injury. Regular and excessive consumption of alcohol causes chronic and fatal conditions, such as fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis. Long-term alcohol use has also been linked with increased risk of liver cancer.
As per a study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), titled “The Burden of Cancer Attributable to Alcohol Consumption,” nearly 3.6 percent of all cancers can be attributed to the consumption of alcohol. Another study by the World Cancer Research Fund International (WCRF) found that nearly 30 percent of the liver cancer cases in the United States can be prevented by curbing or controlling the consumption of alcohol.
Alcohol use increases risk of hepatocellular carcinoma
Alcohol and chronic liver disease are often closely linked. Primarily, alcohol causes scarring of liver, known as cirrhosis, which further increases the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) – the most common type of liver cancer. Several studies suggest that nearly 32-45 percent of HCC in the U.S. and Italy can be attributed to alcohol consumption.
Studies further suggest that people with hepatitis B or hepatitis C have a higher chance of developing liver cancer. Hepatitis C is the most common risk factor of liver cancer in the U.S., as per the American Cancer Society.
6 units of alcohol per day may increase risk of cancer
Liver cancer due to alcohol is primarily associated with the heavy drinkers. Therefore, many people often believe drinking in limits or casual drinking does not do any harm to the body or liver. However, as per a study, even three alcoholic drinks in a day can potentially cause liver cancer.
According to a study conducted by the WCRF, consuming five to six units of alcohol each day can significantly increase the risk of cancer. The study reviewed 34 studies covering 8.2 million people of which more than 24,500 had liver cancer.
Though the study could not identify the exact cause of live cancer, it emphasized on the role of cirrhosis in causing liver cancer. Additionally, it suggested that the risk of developing liver cancer increases if cirrhosis is coupled with continued drinking or ailments like hepatitis B or hepatitis C.
The study also noted that health issues, such as obesity and diabetes, caused by alcohol use, also contribute to the development of liver cancer in a person. However, as a remedy, the study suggested that drinking more coffee can significantly reduce the risk of developing liver cancer. The risk can further be reduced by decreasing the level of alcohol consumption, the study added.
Road to recovery
Apart from liver cancer, excessive alcohol use also increases the risk of developing cancer in the oropharynx, larynx and esophagus. To know more about these cancers click here. Alcoholism is a disease that grows from being a habit. An alcoholic tends to have uncontrollable cravings for alcohol and this urge can only be addressed through appropriate treatment. Medical intervention or rehabilitation often comes handy in treating alcoholism.
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism, it is important for you to consult a medical professional immediately. You can get in touch with the Alcohol Addiction Helpline of California to gain information on various treatment options of alcoholism or alcohol addiction. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-980-1715 or chat online with our certified practitioners to enquire about the reputed alcohol addiction treatment facilities in California. We can help you with information about alcohol rehab centers in California and connect you to one of the best alcohol treatment facilities in California.
Read the first article of the series: Cancers alcohol may cause – Part 1: Oropharynx, larynx, esophagusContinue reading