Alcohol Use as Cause of Cancer
Cancer is one of the most common illnesses in the world, with millions affected by it directly or indirectly. According to the American Cancer Society (“What is Cancer,” 2020), 1 in 3 Americans is affected by cancer. Since cancer happens on the cell level, and there are trillions of them in the human body, there is a high chance of cancer developing. Although there are many different types of cancer, such as skin, liver, or brain, it is widely treatable today, thanks to medical advances in recent decades. Depending on the causes of the tumor growth, its size, and the affected area, the treatments differ. Therefore, it is vital to understand what causes cancer, which ranges from genetic inheritance to lifestyle choices and the environment (“What is Cancer,” 2020). One of the common causes of cancer, most commonly in the liver, is alcohol.
Although billions of people worldwide consume alcohol without developing cancerous cells, the chance remains, and several body parts and organs can be affected. According to the American Cancer Society (“Alcohol Use and Cancer,” 2020), alcohol is the cause of 6% of cancers in the US, such as in the mouth, throat, voice box, esophagus, colon, rectum, and breast. And expectedly, the liver and stomach are also often affected and at risk of cancer due to alcohol. This risk, unlike some of the other cancer causes, is quite preventable if the alcohol is consumed in moderation or not at all (“Alcohol Use and Cancer,” 2020). However, since various types of cancers develop differently, sometimes it is important to understand the genetic predisposition one has before making lifestyle decisions.
There is no agreement on the exact reasons for alcohol increases the risk of cancer. However, some possible ones include damage to body tissues or effects on other harmful chemicals (“Alcohol Use and Cancer,” 2020). Furthermore, the reasons might lie in the effects on absorption of folate and other nutrients, estrogen and other hormones, and body weight (“Alcohol Use and Cancer,” 2020). Moreover, alcohol might have other negative physical and mental health effects on the body.
Alcohol Use and Cancer. (2020). American Cancer Society.
What is Cancer? (2020). American Cancer Society.