Drinking is especially closely associated with increased risks for oesophageal, mouth, liver, colorectal and breast cancers.
A new study, according to oncologists, finds that the more alcohol one drinks, the more likely are they to develop at least seven types of cancer.
Even small or moderate drinking was associated with increased risks for oesophageal, mouth, liver, colorectal and breast cancers and is responsible for more than five percent of cancers and cancer deaths worldwide.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) which has never formally addressed the link between the two is now underscoring the importance of controlling ‘high-risk’ alcohol consumption to reducing risk of malignant tumors.
However, ASCO does not ask people to completely abstain from alcohol, but rather pushes for a temperate use.
According to a 2013 report, about 73 percent of Americans reported consuming alcohol, and nearly 13 percent described their consumption habits as binge drinking, according to a survey published in JAMA Psychiatry in August.
The CDC recommends that women have no more than one drink a day or eight drinks a week. Men drink two drinks a day, or 14 a week. But data suggests that many Americans are drinking far more than what they should.
ASCO cited a review that found ‘the evidence to be convincing’ that alcohol consumption is not just linked to be is a cause of mouth, throat, voice box, colorectal, liver and breast cancer.
The report said that there is also now enough evidence to suggest that alcohol is a probably cause of pancreatic, stomach and other cancers.
While. there has been some debate over whether alcohol itself, or other elements come the compositions of various alcoholic beverages are cancer-causing, the ASCO report puts that debate to bed stating, ‘The answer is that associations between alcohol drinking and cancer risk have been observed consistently regardless of the specific type of alcoholic beverage.’
According to Dr LoConte, alcohol does not affect each part of the body in the same carcinogenic way. She explains that for head and neck and esophageal cancers, alcohol's breakdown product (acetaldehyde, which is an established carcinogen) touches the tissues directly as one swallows an alcoholic drink and causes cancer.
She further states that liver cancer is caused by cirrhosis, which is in turn caused by drinking. When cirrhosis develops, healthy liver cells are replaced by damaged scar tissue cells, which can become cancer cells.
Alcohol, Dr LoConte says, ‘interferes with the absorption of folate, which is a critical step in the development of colon cancer.’
When a woman’s estrogen levels become abnormally high, the hormone puts her at higher risk for breast cancer. Alcohol has been shown to increase estrogen levels, thus putting women at greater risk of breast cancer.
In fact, ASCO reports that women who drank even one drink of beer or wine (which have significantly lower alcohol contents than liquors) were five percent more likely to develop premenopausal breast cancer, and nine percent more likely to develop the cancer after menopause.