Lesser the alcohol consumption, lower is the risk of cancer. There’s no type of alcohol that is better or worse than the other. Alcohol leads to damage regardless of its type, be it beer, wine or spirits.
Which is worse: binge drinking or spreading my drinking across the week?
Research has looked mainly at the amount of alcohol people drink in total and the effect on cancer risk. Drinking alcohol increases the risk of cancer whether you drink it all in one go or a bit at a time.
How much alcohol does it take to increase cancer risk?
There’s no ‘safe’ limit for alcohol when it comes to cancer, but the risk is smaller for people who drink within the government guidelines.
Regularly drinking up to a pint of premium lager or a large glass of wine a day can increase the risk of mouth, upper throat, oesophageal (food pipe), breast and bowel cancers. These drinks both include about 3 units of alcohol.
Alcohol can cause 7 types of cancer
- Mouth cancer
- Oropharyngeal cancer (upper throat)
- Esophageal cancer (food pipe)
- Laryngeal cancer (voice box)
- Breast cancer
- Bowel cancer
- Liver cancer
What is acetaldehyde and how can it cause cancer?
In our bodies, alcohol (ethanol) is converted into a toxic chemical called acetaldehyde.
It can cause cancer by damaging DNA and stopping our cells from repairing this damage. The International Agency for Research on Cancer have classified acetaldehyde formed as a result of drinking alcohol as being a cause of cancer, along with alcohol itself.
Acetaldehyde also causes liver cells to grow faster than normal. These regenerating cells are more likely to pick up changes in their genes that could lead to cancer.
Why is it worse to both drink and smoke?
People who smoke and drink multiply the risk for certain cancers, because tobacco and alcohol work together to damage the cells of the body. For example, alcohol makes it easier for the mouth and throat to absorb the cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco. This is one reason why people who drink and smoke multiply the damage they receive and have especially high risks of cancer.
Can liver damage lead to cancer?
Drinking lots of alcohol can damage the cells of the liver, causing a disease called cirrhosis. Cirrhosis can make you more likely to develop liver cancer.
Message of the day
With Christmas just around the corner, I’m sure most of us would want throw our waistlines in the air and have our favourite food and beverage.
Holidays bring with them parties and gatherings, along with more opportunities than usual to drink alcohol with family and friends.
Here are 5 tips which will see you through the festive season with your health intact.
- For healthy men and women, drinking no more than 4 standard drinks on a single occasion reduces the risk of alcohol-related injury arising from that occasion.
- Avoid topping drinks up: you may lose count of how many you have had.
- Try to alternate water or a non-alcoholic alternative with your alcoholic drinks, or try a non-alcoholic cocktail for a refreshing change.
- Avoid drinking on an empty stomach.Eating can also slow your rate of drinking, but avoid eating too many salty party snack foods which can encourage you to drink more quickly.
- Remember that you may still be over the limit the next morning after a large drinking session.