Alcohol and cancer videos


The International Agency on Research on Cancer Monographs has declared alcohol carcinogenic.

It is the ethanol within alcohol that is carcinogenic and it is impossible to differentiate between different risks associated with different alcohol.

According to some studies, 10% total cancer in men and 3% total cancer in women could be attributable to alcohol consumption


Why alcohol causes cancer?

There are a number of biological mechanisms that may explain alcohol’s contribution to cancer development.

– Ethanol may cause cancer through the formation of acetaldehyde, its most toxic metabolite.

– Acetaldeyhde has mutagenic and carciongenic properties, and bonds with DNA to increase the risk of DNA mutations and impaired cell replication.

– Ethanol may also cause direct tissue damage by irritating the epithelium and increasing the absorption of carcinogens through its effects as a solvent.

– In addition, alcohol can increase the level of hormones such as oestrogen, therby increasing breast cancer risk, and increase the risk of liver cancer by causing cirrhosis of the liver, increased oxidative stress, altered methylation and reduced levels of retinoic acid.

Lifestyle factors such as smoking, poor oral hygiene, and certain nutrient deficiencies (folate, vitamin B6, methyl donors) or excesses (vitamin A/ Beta carotene), owing to poor diet or self- medication, may also increase the risk for alcohol-associated tumours.

The effect of alcohol is different in men and women. 

 If you are a woman drinking alchohol contributes to the risk of cancers of the pharynx, larnyx, oesophegous, colorectum and breasts (based on 25g per day)

Cancer sites for women from over use of alcohol

( Photo from: Bagnardi K Alcohol Consumption and the Risk of Cancer)

In men, there is a low risk of lung cancer, stomach, colon and rectum. A medium risk in the oesophagus, the larynx and liver and a higher risk in the oral cavity.

 ( Photo from: Bagnardi K Alcohol Consumption and the Risk of Cancer)

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