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7 Types of Cancers Linked to Alcohol Consumption


Young cancer patient standing in front of hospital window.

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

Alcohol was estimated to result in around a half a million cancer deaths in 2012 alone. That is nearly 6% of cancer deaths worldwide. A new study linked alcohol consumption to seven types of cancers, and many others may be a result of alcohol abuse.

The study is the first to hint that alcohol in moderation may carry some risk. The prior studies focus more on long-term alcohol abuse. The study found a direct, harmful effect of drinking that causes cancer. As of now, researchers are not sure what biological reason why alcohol causes cancer.

The review published in the journal Addiction by author Jennie Connor, from the University of Otago in New Zealand. The results revealed that the highest risk of alcohol-related cancer is from heavy consumption. However, even people who drink at low levels are in danger.

She said:

“There is strong evidence that alcohol causes cancer at seven sites, and probably others. Confirmation of specific biological mechanisms by which alcohol increases the incidence of each type of cancer is not required to infer that alcohol is a cause.”

Conners continued stating that there is no safe level of drinking in respects to cancer. While the risk decreases by moderate drinking, the risk reduces the most when people stopped drinking. She added that the healthy benefits of drinking are “irrelevant in comparison” to the increase in the risk of a range of cancers.”

Furthermore, in January UK chief medical officers declared that no level of drinking is without risks to health. Per recommendations, they suggested men consume no more than 12 units of alcohol, down from the previous 21 units and for women, much less.
The 7 Cancers Linked to Alcohol

  1. Breast
  2. Rectum
  3. Larynx
  4. Oesophagus
  5. Liver
  6. Colon
  7. Oropharynx

According to the study, for every 1000 women who do not drink, 109 will develop breast cancer. However, for women who drink 14 units of alcohol or less per week, that number rises to 126, and for women who drink 14 to 35 units a week, the risks increase to 153 women per thousand.

Scientists are unsure how alcohol consumption leads to cancers. One theory is that alcohol damages DNA. Susannah Brown, the science program manager for the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), said regarding the study:

“Many people believe that alcohol consumption is only linked to liver cancer, but this review confirms the findings of our Continuous Update Project that alcohol is strongly linked to an increased risk of a number of different cancers, including two of the most common – bowel and breast cancer.”

She continued expressing her thoughts regarding the results from the study:

“Among other evidence, we see the risk increasing as the amount of alcohol consumed increases, and we agree that there is solid evidence to conclude that alcohol consumption directly causes cancer. For cancer prevention, we have long recommended that people should not drink alcohol at all, but we understand that this can be easier said than done.”

The study also found substantial evidence that alcohol causes other cancers like mouth, throat, liver, breast and bowel.

Alcohol abuse is the most common addiction out there. With society emphasizing drinking on a regular basis, it is hard for many to restrain themselves from consuming alcohol. However, when it comes to heavy drinking, the risk fo alcohol could be a person’s life.

Living a life sober from all drugs and alcohol is possible. Do not feel that you have to follow the mainstream. Life in recovery is a beautiful thing. The time is now to make a change. Call today.

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