Cancers alcohol may cause – Part 3: Colon, rectum

Cancers alcohol may cause – Part 3: Colon, rectum

Bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer worldwide and is the second leading cause of deaths involving cancer in the United States. Also called colorectal cancer, it includes cancer of the colon or the large intestine and the rectum or the back passage. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), colorectal is the third most common cancer diagnosed in Americans. Further, the U.S. has recorded nearly 95,270 and 39,220 new cases of colon cancer and rectal cancer respectively for 2016, as estimated by the American Cancer Society.

Colorectal cancer is more common among elderly people or senior citizens. As per research, nine out of 10 people suffering from bowel cancer are over 60 years old. However, the cancer is not age specific and can occur to anyone, irrespective of age. Studies further suggest that as compared to men, women have relatively lower risk of developing the cancer.

There are several factors that can propel the development of colorectal cancer in an individual. Apart from genetics, some preventable risk factors of colorectal cancer include smoking, heavy alcohol use, physical inactivity, poor dietary habits and overweight or obesity. Amongst all, alcohol tends to encourage the development of the disease more.

Excessive alcohol intake increases risk of colorectal cancer by 23 percent

Alcohol use has always been associated with severe health ailments like cancer and liver diseases and the same has been reinforced by a recent study published in July 2016 which particularly provided evidence of alcohol causing at least seven types of cancer, including colorectal cancer. While there are several studies that establish the link between bowel cancer and excessive alcohol consumption, the 2007 European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study, coordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO) and supported by the European Union, succeeded in establishing a significant association between the two.

As per the EPIC study, excessive alcohol intake increases the risk of developing bowel cancer by 23 percent. Another study conducted by the Department of Colorectal Surgery at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2015 focused on the effect of beer, in particular, in development of colon cancer. It found that compared to non-drinkers or occasional drinkers, people who drank beer regularly had 20 percent increased risk of bowel cancer, citing the reason that people do not consider beer as hazardous as other alcoholic drinks and tend to take it in excess, which finally causes similar impact like other hard drinks.

While these studies confirmed the association of excessive alcohol use with the development of colorectal cancer, both ascertained that moderate drinking or regular drinking within the government’s low risk unit guidelines did not lead to bowel cancer. However, a study conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer warned about the higher risk of developing colorectal cancer if taken more than one drink a day.

Cancer can be prevented by lowering alcohol intake

Colorectal cancer due to alcohol use can be prevented by lowering the intake of the substance. In addition, nutritious and high-fiber diet and regular exercise which helps in avoiding deposition of fats and other toxins can surely diminish the chances of getting the disease. Maintaining a healthy body weight further decreases the risk of bowel cancer. Lastly, giving away lifestyle habits such as smoking also reduces the risk up to a great extent as smoking also increases the risk of cancer.

Road to recovery

Although alcohol is a legal substance, its health hazards are debilitating and fatal. Excessive drinking contributes to either onset or the increasing risk of many life-threatening diseases. Apart from colorectal cancer, alcohol use also causes laryngeal cancer, oropharyngeal cancer, esophageal cancer, liver cancer and breast cancer.

If you or your loved one requires help for alcohol abuse, seek assistance from one of the reputed alcohol addiction treatment facilities in California. The Alcohol Addiction Helpline of California can connect you to one of the best alcohol rehab centers in California. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-980-1715 or chat online to know more about treatment centers for alcohol addiction in California.

Read the other articles of the series Cancers alcohol may cause:

Part 1: Oropharynx, larynx, esophagus

Part 2: Liver

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