Consuming more than 5 alcoholic drinks per week increases your risk of oral cancer: Analysis

You may want to rethink about downing another bottle of beer. Scientists have confirmed that alcohol increases the risk of getting cancer. Research revealed that frequent alcohol drinkers are more prone to contract cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx, esophagus, larynx, breast, liver, colon or rectum, and stomach.

Several studies were conducted aiming to establish the link between the deadly disease and alcohol consumption. It was found that consuming more than 3.53 oz of alcohol daily could lead to the development of cancer in the body.

On the other hand, scientists have discovered that a moderate consumption or not more than two glasses of alcohol does not have any relation to cancers of the colo-rectum, stomach, ovary, and prostate. However, heavy drinkers or those who consume more than two glasses daily are exposed to higher risks of getting the aforementioned types of cancer.

Body under the influence

Alcohol intake leads to several bodily activities that cause more harm than good. When under the influence, the body goes through a process called oxidation. During this process, the human body generates chemically reactive molecules that contain oxygen and damages the DNA, protein, and lipids.

Aside from oxidation, alcohol hinders the body’s ability to break down and absorb nutrients that can help lower the risk of cancer. These nutrients include vitamins A, C, D, and E, vitamin B complex, and carotenoids.

Moreover, alcohol boosts the production of estrogen in the blood – a hormone linked to breast cancer. Carcinogenic contaminants such nitrosamines, asbestos fibers, phenols, and hydrocarbons are also found in alcohol.

Is it safer to drink wine instead of beer?

Studies also revealed that the type of alcohol being consumed is irrelevant as all alcoholic beverages contain ethanol. In fact, standard size drinks of any type all contain half an ounce of ethanol each while stronger and larger servings of alcoholic beverages contain more.

Most evidence suggest that ethanol is the alcohol component that is proved to be carcinogenic. The human body converts ethanol into a toxic chemical called acetaldehyde, which damages the cell and stops it from repairing the damage. Furthermore, alcohol intake lowers folate levels in a person’s blood. Folate is an important component that aids in the correct reproduction of DNA. Without it, cell restoration in the blood is exposed to great risks. The faulty repair of cells in a person’s DNA could lead to several strains of cancer. (Related: Drinking too much can cause cancer, damaging cellular DNA, study finds.)

Double threat

Undeniably, excessive alcohol intake is harmful to the health, and it’s not surprising that when paired with smoking tobacco, the risk of getting cancer doubles. According to epidemiologic research alcohol drinkers who also regularly smoke tobacco have a greater chance of contracting cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, and esophagus compared to people who only smoke tobacco. The two substances were found to be multiplicative, meaning both of them amplify each other’s toxicity.

Quitting will not spare you

Unfortunately, cancer risk is not reduced even after quitting. Thirteen case-control studies showed that alcohol-associated cancer risk does not decrease for at least ten years after a person stops drinking alcohol. Moreover, cancer risks remain higher for ex-drinkers compared to those who have never drunk alcohol even after more than a decade of quitting.

However, drinking has become a huge element in social interactions and avoiding it could prove to be difficult for some. The American Cancer Society recommends men to limit their daily alcohol intake to two glasses while women are limited to one.

Learn more about the big C and find out what causes it at

Sources include: 1 2

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