Annually an estimated five hundred thousand Americans succumb to different forms of cancer: breast, lung and large bowel being the most common form. Recent evidences have shed a new light on much debated role of alcohol in cancer. Data collated from various sources have clearly established a connection between wanton alcohol consumption and increased risk of contracting cancer. It is mooted that nearly five percent of all cancer cases are induced directly or indirectly by alcohol.
The medical fraternity has been able to establish clear cut connection between alcohol consumption and cancer of the mouth, pharynx and larynx. However, facts are still unclear about alcohol’s role in other forms of cancer like liver, breast, and colorectal cancers. Together these various forms of above mentioned cancers, accounts for nearly 125,000 deaths in USA- so one can easily gauge the dangerous ramifications of alcohol excess.
What Is Cancer?
Cancer primarily denotes a group of diseases characterized by uncontrollable cell differentiation. These masses of cells aggregate to form tumors that spread out from their point of origin to invade other parts of the body, where these tumors can cause irreparable fatal damages. Generally cell reproduction occurs within the confines of the tissues, but cancerous cells are guided by no such physiological regulations. They reproduce independently beyond tissue boundaries. It is widely believed that certain oncogenic or cancer causing agents actually act as a stimulus for cancer.
Is Alcohol A Carcinogen?
Alcohol till now was perceived merely to be a catalyst that played a secondary role in cancer initiation. But in light of the recent results, for the very first time US Department of Health And Human Services very recently, listed alcoholic beverages as a known human carcinogen. The damning report once again reiterated alcohol’s prominent role in precipitating cancer of the mouth, pharynx and larynx. This association is more pronounced among smokers and alcohol addicts. The report also stated that, while evidence is still inconclusive, one cannot ignore alcohol’s role in precipitating other forms of cancer like breast and lung cancer.
Alcohol And Different Types Of Cancers.
The strongest dose dependent association was seen with cancers of the upper digestive tract, including the mouth, pharynx and the larynx.
Upper Digestive Tract- Chronic heavy drinkers reported a higher incidence of esophageal cancer than the rest of the general population. Association between consumption between consumption levels and heightened risk was also seen, with nearly three fourth of all upper digestive tract cases attributed to profligate alcohol consumption.
Liver Cancer – Alcohol’s exact role in liver cancer is still murky. However it is widely believed that liver cirrhosis is the main culprit in liver cancer cases and alcohol is a known agent for liver cirrhosis. So its importance cannot simply be overlooked.
Breast Cancer- Recent studies have suggested that chronic alcohol consumption may play an indirect role in the development of breast cancer. These studies indicate that alcohol amplifies the estrogen levels in premenopausal women, which, in turn, may stimulate breast cancer.
The damaging effects of chronic alcoholism are far flung and may often prove to be fatal. So if you are still deluding yourself about alcohol’s ill effects and choose to go on happily binging till posterity, make no mistake about the fact that you are indeed putting your life at grave risk.