The Relationship Between Alcohol and Cancer
Alcohol consumption can lead to several health effects, including reduced inhibition, trouble focusing and severely impaired driving ability. However, the long-term impacts are often overlooked. Prolonged alcohol consumption may lead to the development of cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), several types of cancer have been linked to alcohol. They include mouth cancer, larynx cancer (also called the voice box), esophageal cancer, colon cancer, rectal cancer, liver cancer, and even breast cancer. These risks have been linked to all types of alcohol, including wine, beer, and liquor. The CDC has also stated that the more alcohol people drink, the higher their risk of developing these cancers.
A Forgotten Consensus: Alcohol and Malignancies
The scientific community has reached a consensus on the relationship between alcohol and cancer. Research has shown that prolonged alcohol consumption dramatically increases the chances of someone developing a malignancy. Unfortunately, many people are still unaware of this relationship.
In 2017, the American Institute for Cancer Research conducted a telephone survey on alcohol use. Researchers spoke to more than 1,000 adults in the United States. The results of this survey were astonishing. Less than 40 percent of the adults surveyed were aware that alcohol consumption may increase someone’s risk of developing cancer.
Researchers conducted a similar study back in 2001. In that study, about 42 percent of adults surveyed were aware of the link between alcohol and cancer. There has actually been a drop in the public’s awareness of this dangerous health link.
How Does Alcohol Lead to Cancer?
This link has been an active area of research over the past few years. When someone consumes alcohol, it is metabolized by the liver. The enzymes in the liver break down alcohol into a byproduct called acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde has been demonstrated in scientific research to be carcinogenic.
When someone drinks alcohol and acetaldehyde is produced, this byproduct has the potential to damage someone’s DNA. The DNA is the instruction manual of the body and guides cells through the replication process. If this instruction manual is damaged, the cells start to produce out of control. This is the basis of cancer.
Over the years, doctors and research professionals have studied the cancers that have developed in humans. They have also replicated these cancers under intense control circumstances in animals in research laboratories. The results are clear and must be addressed. With increased consumer awareness and knowledge, cancer rates may decline.
Watch YouTube Video: Alcohol and Cancer Risk. The following video discusses how alcohol consumption is a direct cause of several different cancers.
An Obligation to Warn the Public: Government Warning Labels
There is a serious gap in the public’s knowledge related to cancers and alcohol. Currently, there are a couple of warning labels on the packaging of liquors. These include warnings related to alcohol consumption during pregnancy and alcohol consumption related to driving. A third label should be added to address the risks associated with cancer. While having all three labels present on the same package may cause information overload for the reader, the three labels can be rotated.
Rotating labels have already been added to the packaging that is present in tobacco products. The rates of smoking in the United States have plummeted over the past few decades, showing that these warning labels are effective. Regulatory authorities should look to the warning labels on tobacco products to determine the size and the placement of these warning labels on alcoholic beverages. If used properly, consumers would become more aware of the potential dangers concerning alcohol and malignant diseases. This may reduce the rates of various cancers in the United States.
Sacramento Injury Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Injury Lawyer. Prolonged alcohol use can have several deleterious health effects and might lead to cancer. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer that might be due to alcohol consumption, please call me at (800) 404-5400 or (916) 921-6400 for free, friendly advice.