ALCOHOL AS A CARCINOGEN

Studies, researchers and evidence have shown that alcohol causes cancer.There is no safe limitation of alcohol consumption. But by reducing the alcohol consumption one can definitely reduce the cancer risk.

How is Cancer Formed in Body

The whole body comprises of cells which grow, divide, duplicate and die out normally. Cells contain genes inside them which are made up of DNA. During multiplication of cells, there can be a change in DNA. This change is known as mutation. It results in a cell which is either not growing, duplicating or dying normally as they should be.

Mutations either happen by chance, ie: by inherited genetic faults or sometimes due to any environmental factors like alcohol drinking and smoking.

Body’s immune system keeps a check on the mutated cell and removes on its own without any medication being taken.

Unlike normal cells, cancer cells do not know when to stop growing and multiplying ie: if these remain untreated then cancer cells may invade and destroy the surrounding tissues.

Cancer cells have the capability to spread. They do not stick together as normal cells do, and may also produce substances that stimulate them to move. 

Moreover, cancer cells never repair themselves or die because they override the signals from molecules that tell any damaged cells in the body to self-destruct.

 

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (Centre International de Recherche sur le Cancer) of the World Health Organization has classified alcohol as a Group 1 carcinogen, similar to arsenic, benzene and asbestos.

In a recently published statement in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, of American Society of Clinical Oncology  the study has cited an evidence that even light drinking slightly raises a woman’s risk of breast cancer and increases a common type of esophageal cancer.

Like tobacco, alcohol is also injurious to health to any individual.

Alcohol-Induced cancers are as followed:

Alcohol causes cancer at the below sites in the body:

  • Oropharyngeal cancer
  • Larynx cancer
  • Oesophageal cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Bowel cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Female breast cancer

Alcohol and Cancer

Alcohol has been classified as a Group 1 carcinogen. There are several mechanisms by which alcohol causes cancer.

  1. First of all, alcohol which is ethanol, it is broken down forming acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde damages cells by binding with DNA of the cell. Thereby causing cells that are replicating to be replicated incorrectly and abnormally.
  2. Thus, alcohol causes damage to the tissues directly. Damaged tissue increases the absorption of other carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) that those cells come into contact with.
  3. Alcohol can influence hormone levels, increasing cancer risk.
  4. It increases the risk of liver cancer by causing liver cirrhosis.

For cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus and liver there is strong evidence that the DNA damage is due to acetaldehyde. For breast cancer, the mechanism appears to be alcohol interfering with the metabolism of oestrogen, and increasing the circulating levels of sex hormones. These sex hormones encourage cell division.

 

 

 

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