The link between alcohol addiction and cancer: how to lower your risk

The link between alcohol addiction and cancer: how to lower your risk

Does alcohol addiction cause cancer?

The simple answer is yes – heavy alcohol use can increase the risk of cancer. Research from the National Center Institute and the US Department of Health and Human Services have found a link between alcohol, especially heavy alcohol use, and cancer. And for some cancers, such as breast cancer, even small amounts of alcohol can raise your cancer risk.

Alcohol specifically raises the risk of developing these cancers:

  • Breast (in women)
  • Colon and rectum
  • Esophagus
  • Liver
  • Mouth and throat
  • Voice box (larynx)

All types of alcoholic drinks, including beer, liquor, and red and white wine contribute to a higher risk of developing cancer.

People who have alcohol dependence are at a high risk for cancer because their consumption is beyond healthy levels. That’s why it’s important to get treatment for an alcohol use disorder as soon as possible.

How alcohol increases your risk for cancer

Alcohol causes your body to undergo a number of changes. Here’s how alcohol increases your risk of cancer.

Forms acetaldehyde

Your body breaks down alcohol into acetaldehyde, a toxic chemical which damages your DNA and prevents your body from repairing this damage. This damage can cause cells to grow uncontrollably, leading to cancer.

Creates free radicals

Alcohol causes your body to generate reactive oxygen species or free radicals. Free radicals damage DNA, proteins, and lipids.

Interferes with nutrient absorption

Alcohol impairs the body’s ability to absorb important nutrients that help prevent cancer, including vitamin A, folate, vitamin C, and vitamin E

Increases estrogen

Increasing blood levels of estrogen, a sex hormone linked to the risk of breast cancer.

Quick facts on alcohol addiction and cancer

  • Seven out of ten Americans don’t know there’s a link between alcohol consumption and cancer
  • Alcohol use accounts for about 6% of all cancers in the U.S.
  • Alcohol use accounts for about 4% of cancer-related deaths in the U.S.
  • The more you drink, the more you raise your cancer risk
  • Even small amounts of alcohol can raise the risk of breast cancer
  • Men who drink three or more drinks per day are 3-4 times more likely to develop esophagus and liver cancer

How to lower your risk of cancer

The best way to lower your risk of alcohol-related cancers is to decrease how much you drink.

Here are tips to help you achieve this:

  • Write down a plan to quit or cut back drinking
  • Keep track of positive
  • Keep a diary of your drinking
  • Know your triggers
  • Don’t keep alcohol in your house
  • Go alcohol-free on some days
  • Stay out of places where alcohol is served or sold

Get help for alcohol addiction

If you have trouble quitting drinking, the next step is to get professional help.

Addiction specialists at Mallard Lake Detox Center, a luxury rehab in Houston, offers alcohol treatment programs in an upscale environment.

To help you overcome alcohol dependence, we offer:

  • Alcohol detox
  • Medically assisted detox
  • Inpatient residential program
  • Outpatient treatment

Get in touch with us today. We’re here and ready to talk to you 24/7. To get started, call 936-800-8025 or complete our contact form.

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