Alcohol and Cancer: Understanding the Connection

Research has shown that risks for cancer increase among men who have two alcoholic drinks a day and women who have one alcoholic drink per day.   While everyone has been widely aware of the fact that smoking cigarettes greatly increase your risk of contracting cancer, there has been very little publicity of the fact that alcohol can act as a similar carcinogen.

By its very nature and design, the consumption of alcohol damages cells in your body.   This damage can easily promote cell division, stimulate enzymes which cause the activation of other carcinogens and destroy certain nutrients that act as natural preventatives to cancer.

Most of the research indicates that a strong link exists between alcohol and cancers of the esophagus, pharynx and mouth.   There is a suggested, those less strongly proven, link between cancers of the liver, breast and colon.   According to the American Cancer Society, oral cancers are six times more common in alcohol users than in non alcohol users.   Obviously, all of this evidence points to the conclusion that you should avoid alcohol so you can lower your chances of contracting these types of cancer.

For most people the question then comes down to a simple decision: are the benefits of drinking alcohol larger than the potential deficits of cancer?   As long as the mythology continues that there is no cure for cancer, the question should be fairly simple to answer.   Very few people would happily enjoy a few nights out with friends drinking for months or years of painful cancer.

Put plainly, our bodies are designed to heal themselves.   Our immune system was created to keep our bodies healthy.   However, like any other worker, our immune system cannot do its work if we don’t give it the necessary tools.

One of the effects of alcohol, which isn’t one of the reasons most folks drink it, is that it reduces the ability of your immune system to do its job.   So, people who regularly drink alcohol are regularly inhibiting the ability of their immune system to do its job.

Our cells are constantly dividing and there are a large number of ways the cell can become malignant.   In reality, we probably develop malignant cells on a daily basis.   However, once they become known to our immune system as a threat, they are destroyed.   It”s only when our immune system somehow misses the indications that a cell is becoming a problem that we term it cancer.

There is no dispute about the fact that doing anything which will inhibit our immune system increases our chances for becoming ill.   It’s significantly odd, then, that we all continue going about our lives while continually doing things that inhibit our immune systems.

In the end, we all need to evaluate the actions we take and the decisions we make with an eye towards the potential rewards versus the potential risks.   Alcohol diminishes the immune system and a diminished immune system greatly elevates our chances of developing cancer.   Next time you start to drink alcohol, stop and ask your immune system if it really wants to get drunk.

HealthStatus Resources on Alcohol:
BAC calculator
Alcohol Abuse self-check


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6. April 2010
6. April 2010
Interestingly, both my father & his father (both alcoholics) died from cancer that started in the throat. I chose to stop drinking because I felt as if I was just borrowing trouble with that kind of family history of drinking. Now I am more satisfied with that decision.


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