Does Alcohol Cause Cancer?

Alcohol and a cigarette on a table.

Obviously, engaging in heavy drinking doesn’t do any favors for your health. However, over drinking can cause a lot more damage than you think it can. There is an ample amount of research that shows it is very likely that alcohol can be a major component of increasing an individual’s risk to cancer. Here are some of the links between cancer and alcohol abuse that an alcoholic should be worrying about…

Head cancer

Excessive drinking can drastically increase your chances of getting cancer all around the appendage people tend to care most about: your head. Alcohol can affect the development of cancer in your oral cavity, your throat, and your voice box. A recent study from the national cancer institute showed that individuals who were heavy drinkers, who tend to drink more than 3.5 drinks a day, were 200%-300% likelier to develop cancer in the head region of the body.

Esophagus cancer

Genetic factors and alcohol abuse can combine in the most deadly of ways. Certain individuals, due to their genetic makeup, may have a harder time generating enzymes that are necessary to metabolize alcohol. When a person with this deficiency drinks heavily and regularly, it can make a deadly cocktail of circumstances where alcohol buildup in the esophagus can greatly increase the chances of developing squamous cell carcinoma, a type of esophageal cancer.

Liver cancer

It is commonly known that heavy alcohol abuse will have major implications for a person’s liver. Indeed, in heavy chronic drinking, liver failure is all too common. However, another way that alcohol dangerously impacts the liver is by increasing the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma, a type of liver cancer.

Breast cancer

Alcohol abuse negatively impacts both men and women. However, there is an added risk for women, as there is a direct correlation between the amount of alcohol a woman drinks and her chances of developing breast cancer. Women who drink around 3 drinks a day have about a 150% higher chance of getting breast cancer. The National Cancer Institute estimates that a woman’s risk of breast cancer rises roughly 7% for every 10 grams of alcohol that she drinks a day.