How Is Alcohol Connected To Cancer?
Most people are aware of the health risks associated with consuming too much alcohol. Alcoholics are at higher risk of contracting liver disease, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, digestive problems, and stroke. Of course, there are also the dangers involved with drinking and driving. What may be news to you, however, is the link between drinking too much and the risk of developing cancer of the liver, throat, esophagus, mouth, colon and breast.
Consuming the occasional drink with dinner or on special occasions is unlikely to cause damage, but drinking more than one or two alcoholic beverages per day, depending on gender, can put you at risk of becoming a cancer statistic. According to the American Cancer Society, women should limit alcohol intake to one drink per day while men should limit daily intake to two drinks.
How to Monitor Alcohol Intake
Consuming one drink does not mean filling up the biggest glass that you can find with your favorite brew, wine or liquor. For the purposes of this discussion, a standard drink contains 14 grams of pure alcohol, and the following measurements constitute one drink:
80-proof liquor — 1.5 ounces
Beer — 12 ounces
Malt liquor — 8 ounces
Wine — 5 ounces
Alcohol Abuse and Liver Cancer
People who abuse alcohol are at risk of developing cirrhosis of the liver. This disease occurs when scar tissue replaces damaged liver cells. People with cirrhosis have a high liver cancer risk. Recent research concludes that a significant percentage of people with liver cancer are heavy drinkers.
Alcohol Abuse and Throat, Esophagus and Mouth Cancers
Approximately 70% of people with oral cancer of the throat, esophagus or mouth, consume significantly high amounts of alcohol. The risk is even greater if someone is also a smoker. Some studies indicate that heavy drinkers who smoke are 100 times more likely to develop oral cancer than people who do not drink or smoke.
Alcohol Abuse and Colorectal Cancer
Alcohol consumption moderately increases the risk of developing cancers of the colon and rectum. Studies show that people who drink more than 3.5 drinks daily face 1.5 times the risk of suffering from colorectal cancer as occasional drinkers or nondrinkers. The risk increases by 7% with every 10 grams of pure alcohol consumed.
Alcohol Abuse and Breast Cancer
The cause for the link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer is unclear, but women who are at risk for developing breast cancer due to other factors are urged to limit alcohol intake. Women who consume more than three drinks per day are 1.5 times more likely to develop breast cancer as women who do not consume alcohol.
As with most things in life, moderation is the key to consuming alcohol without risking your health. The following recipe is not only tasty but provides a healthy dose of vitamin C and other antioxidants, which can reduce your risk of developing cancer.
4 cups sparkling water
4 cups cranberry juice
4 cups orange juice
1 sliced orange
1 sliced lime
Combine the juices and sparkling water in a punch bowl. Float lime and orange slices on top and serve over ice.