Key Messages from The American Society of Clinical Oncology:
> Because of the way your body reacts to alcohol, especially when combined with tobacco intake, drinking alcohol can increase your chances of several cancers.
> Unfortunately, there is no proven method to prevent cancer, but you can help minimise your risks and if you don’t drink alcohol; it is best not to start. If you do drink, then perhaps think about how you can limit alcohol consumption each week and avoid binge drinking.
> Men should have no more than two alcoholic drinks each day, and it is recommended that a woman should have no more than one a day. It’s also said that women should have no more than three to four drinks a week
In addition to tobacco, alcohol is a popular substance that is linked to increased levels of cancer. There are many different cancers that drinking alcohol can influence such as:
> Head and neck cancers, such as mouth, throat and larynx cancer.
> Liver cancer
> Breast cancer
> Stomach cancer
> Colon cancer
The exact reason why and how alcohol increases the risk of these cancers are still unknown and are currently being investigated. It can be said that alcohol most likely influences cancer when individuals are exposed to ethanol and acetaldehyde. Alcohol can have an effect on hormones that are a factor in breast, ovarian and uterine cancers, such as estrogen.
Alcohol Consumption Guidelines
Although there has been no proven way to fully prevent cancer, there are measures you can take to decrease your risk. You can do this by following these guidelines:
> Drink no more than one drink a day for women and two for men.
> Avoid binge drinking at all costs
> Drinking red wine does not help to prevent cancer as there is no study to support this.
> Avoid combining tobacco consumption with alcohol because it will further increase your risk of developing cancers in the mouth.
> The risk of breast cancer can be increased due to the combination of alcohol and hormones.
> If you have a high risk for any of the cancers mentioned in this article, then you should consult with your doctor about how you can limit or even avoid alcohol completely.
Alcohol and Cancer Recurrence
Throughout many studies of alcohol and breast cancer survivors, alcohol has not been seen to increase the risk of recurrence. Unfortunately research about the effect of recurrence or cancer survival is very limited and therefore, you must consult with your doctor regarding the effects of alcohol on your long-term health.