Statistics say alcohol is responsible for almost 2.5 million deaths worldwide every year. Alcohol is a precursor to several deadly diseases like cancer. Besides diseases alcohol has a detrimental effect on the society.
Direct link between alcohol and cancer
The link between alcohol and cancer is a known fact. Research on the same has been carried out from past several years by leading institutes like American Institute for Cancer research, The International Agency for research on Cancer etc. As per the research carried out at the University of Otago in New Zealand even mild to moderate drinkers could suffer from cancer in future. Obviously heavy drinkers were at the highest risk. It is a proven fact that reduction in alcohol consumption reduced the risk of cancer. Smoking along with drinking increased the risk of getting cancer.
The seven types of cancers caused by alcohol
Alcohol (ethanol) gets converted into acetaldehyde in our bodies. This chemical is toxic in nature and damages the DNA. It further prevents the cells of our body from repairing the damaged DNA and this can lead to cancer. The conversion of ethanol into acetaldehyde happens in the liver. The liver cells thus get affected.
There can be abnormal growth of liver cells which leads to cancer. Other cells in the different parts of the body can also convert ethanol into acetaldehyde like the conversion can occur in mouth, lining of the gut, which can also lead to cancer of these parts. Alcohol consumption can also result in a hormonal imbalance. The amount of hormones like oestrogen can increase which in turn increases the chances of getting breast cancer.
Alcohol causes these seven types of cancers:
- Mouth cancer
- Cancer of the upper throat or pharyngeal cancer
- Cancer of food pipe or oesophageal cancer
- Cancer of voice box or Laryngeal cancer
- Breast cancer
- Liver Cancer
- Bowel cancer (cancer of rectum and colon)
How to cut down on alcohol?
There are some easy alternatives which can help in bringing down the consumption of alcohol:
- Try to reduce alcohol during your night out
Being fond of partying and socialising does not mean that you have to consume large amounts of alcohol. Try to adopt ways and means to avoid alcohol or consume it in small amounts. Have a healthy meal before you visit the pub. With a full stomach, you will surely avoid heavy drinking and the greasy fast food. Do not get into alcohol drinking competitions with friends as you will only end up damaging your body. Go in for small pegs and alternate the alcohol round with non-alcoholic drinks round.
- Alcohol-free days
Try to build up tolerance. You can start with avoiding alcohol twice a week. Increase the number of non-alcohol days steadily. Even if you are feeling low and need to cheer yourself up try out other options but refrain from consuming alcohol. Once you get addicted you might feel that you cannot live without it. You have to get out of this frame of mind.
- Alternative options
Low alcoholic drinks are a better option. These drinks have low alcoholic strength by volume (ABV) Their ABV is 0.5% to 1.2%. When you opt for low alcoholic drinks you consume lesser units of alcohol. This will help you stay in the low-risk alcohol unit guidelines. Switch from cocktails to mocktails which are delicious and non-alcoholic.
Alcohol contributes towards 5.8% of the cancer deaths worldwide. This is an alarming fact. It is best to practice self-tolerance and cut down on alcohol consumption.