Alcohol consumption has been linked to an increased risk for various types of cancer. A combined analysis of more than 200 studies assessing the link between alcohol and various types of cancer sought to investigate this association in more detail. This study found that alcohol most strongly increased the risks for cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus, and larynx. Statistically significant increases in risk also existed for cancers of the stomach, colon, rectum, liver, female breast, and ovaries. Several mechanisms have been postulated through which alcohol may contribute to an increased risk of cancer. Concurrent tobacco use, which is common among drinkers, enhances alcohol's effects on the risk for cancers of the upper digestive and respiratory tract
Regular alcohol consumption can have numerous consequences, beneficial or detrimental, on the health of the drinker. For example, light-to-moderate alcohol consumption may protect against certain types of heart disease and stroke. Conversely, heavy drinking has been associated with liver disease; cardiovascular disease; disorders of the digestive tract; and illness or death from alcohol-related injuries, motor vehicle crashes, and violence. Another group of disorders that has been linked to drinking is cancer, particularly cancers of the upper airway and digestive tract
Alcohol consumption also is associated with primary liver cancer. This relationship is difficult to investigate in epidemiological studies, however, because it is more indirect. Thus, alcohol causes cirrhosis of the liver in a substantial proportion of heavy drinkers, which then can lead to liver cancer. In addition, heavy alcohol consumption can increase the drinker's risk for infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV), which in turn can also result in liver cancer.
Alcohol consumption also has been linked to cancers of the large bowel in both men and women and to breast cancer in women, although these associations have not yet been proven unequivocally. Nevertheless, because these are the two most common types of cancer in developed countries after lung cancer, even a moderate increase in risk may result in a relatively large number of additional cases and therefore have important public health implications. The increased risk of cancer among heavy drinkers is primarily attributed to the alcohol in alcoholic beverages. Thus, the risk tends to increase with the overall amount of alcohol consumed.
If you are facing the possibility of a cancer in your future and have decided that now is the time to quit your alcohol addiction. Contact us at Above It All Treatment Center for a personalized evaluation and consultation to set up a program designed just for you. Working together, we can set you on the road to an alcohol free life and lessen the possibility of cancer in your future.