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Alcohol and Cancer

If people are asked what they believe are the major health problems connected to consuming too much alcohol, most say liver or heart disease. Cancer is well down on their list of possible problems…but this shouldn’t be the case.

Cancer is a disease that needs to be taken seriously without going overboard. There are many types of cancer including: breast, skin, various throat cancers, bone, lung, prostate, brain, head and neck, liver, kidney, bowel, stomach and thyroid. This list barely scrapes the surface. Breast, lung and large bowel cancers are the most common forms.

If you consume too much alcohol, your risk for contracting cancer significantly increases for various reasons. Most people enjoy a few drinks but many aren’t aware that alcohol can cause cancer so it’s important for that message to get out to everybody.

Numerous studies have shown that the link between cancer and alcohol exists and, the more people drink, the greater the likelihood is that they’ll contract cancer at some point in their lives.  Many will get cirrhosis of the liver which can lead to cancer.

“The more alcohol you drink in one session or in the long-term, the greater your risk will be for getting cancer.” 

If you drink too much on a long-term basis, your body may not be able to properly process vital nutrients and that may increase your risk of contracting cancer. Reduced levels of various vitamins and minerals are associated with causes of cancer.

If a woman only has a few drinks a week, her risk of breast cancer is increased. If women don’t get enough folate, either through their food or supplements, this increases the risk further. Alcohol can also reduce women’s oestrogen levels.

Not everybody who drinks alcohol will get cancer so you shouldn’t panic. The point to be made here is that the more alcohol you drink in one session or in the long-term, the greater your risk will be for getting cancer. If you have a history of cancer in your family, that’s also likely to give you cancer but you have no control over your genes.

“It is estimated that anywhere between 2,182 and 6,620 cases of cancer (or 1.9 – 5.8% of all cancers) are attributable to long-term, chronic use of alcohol each year in Australia.”

 Cancer Council Australia

However, you do have control over how much alcohol you consume. You can certainly enjoy your night out without having to go overboard. Laughter and fun is easy to have whilst sober or after having only one or two drinks during the evening.

Share good times with your friends but be careful of how much alcohol you drink so you can maintain a healthy lifestyle. The key is moderation. If you enjoy drinking alcohol, reduce the amount you drink at any one time.

Drinking and driving is something that should be done responsibly to avoid accidents because alcohol can seriously impede your judgment. Naturally it’s also important to keep your drinking to a minimum if you’re going to drive.

If you plan on enjoying a night out, arrange a designated driver or catch a taxi and then you won’t need to worry about being a danger on the roads, to yourself or to other people who may be driving safely. It’s a good idea to get a breathalyser to know how alcohol affects you and your BAC whenever you drink. Remember that many factors affect BAC and there is no easy way to accurately estimate your BAC other than with a fuel cell breathalyser.

 

Andatech hopes to raise more awareness about alcohol and cancer through our partnership with the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF).

For every pink AlcoSense Verity breathalyser sold, Andatech will be donating $100 to the NBCF. Funds raised will contribute towards NBCF’s research program on breast cancer.

 

Learn more about alcohol and cancer from the studies below:

Gao, C, Ogeil, RP & Lloyd, B (2014) Alcohol’s burden of disease in Australia.  Canberra: FARE and VicHealth in collaboration with Turning Point.

World Cancer Research Fund, American Institute for Cancer Research. Food, nutrition, physical activity, and the prevention of cancer: a global perspective. Washington DC: AICR; 2007.

Baan R et al. Carcinogenicity of alcoholic beverages.  Lancet Oncology, 2007 8(4): 292-3

Key et al. Meta-analysis of studies of alcohol and breast cancer with consideration of the methodological issues.  Cancer Causes Control, 2006 17(6): 759-70

 


Tony MaVuu

With a background in Biomedical Science (majoring in Physiology and Microbiological Studies), Tony has brought unprecedented insight into subjects such as health and substance use. Having worked in the medical industry before that focuses on analytical medicine, Tony has vast knowledge about the effects that alcohol and drugs can have on our well-being.