Specifically, according to Canadian researchers, the results of a new study show that alcohol is linked to 740,000 new cancer cases globally in 2020, accounting for 4% of all new cases diagnosed this year.
Study co-author Dr Harriet Rumgay said: “The trends suggest that although alcohol consumption per person is declining in many European countries, alcohol use is increasing in Asian countries such as China and India. India, and in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, there is evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased drinking rates in some countries. The authors are concerned that the drinking behavior adopted during the pandemic could lead to permanent drinking habits.
Alcohol causes cancer in many people, especially men. Illustration
In the study, men accounted for 77% of alcohol-related cancers, while women accounted for 23%. Esophageal (189,700), liver (154,700) and breast (98,300) cancers are the most common, followed by colon and rectal cancers, and mouth and throat cancers.
Heavy drinking and heavy drinking are at risk, contributing to the largest number of cases, 47% and 39%, respectively, but moderate drinking (about two drinks per day) accounts for about 14% of cases .
Dr Jürgen Rehm, at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, in Toronto, Canada, said: “All drinking carries risks. With alcohol-related cancers, every level of consumption is associated with some risk.
Alcohol can contribute to cancer growth by causing DNA damage, promoting the production of harmful chemicals in the body, and affecting hormone production. The researchers explain that alcohol can also exacerbate the cancer-causing effects of tobacco and other substances.
Dr Rumgay suggested that there is an urgent need to raise awareness of the link between alcohol consumption and cancer risk among policymakers and the public. Public health strategies – such as reducing alcohol availability, labeling alcoholic products with health warnings and banning marketing – can reduce alcohol-related cancer rates. The tax and pricing policies that have led to a reduction in alcohol consumption in Europe can also be implemented in other parts of the world.
So why does alcohol increase cancer risk? In fact, according to researchers, the increased risk may be linked to two chemicals that can damage the DNA of healthy cells: Ethanol and Acetaldehyde
Ethanol is the main ingredient of alcoholic beverages. Acetaldehyde is produced when alcohol is metabolized in the body by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase.
Alcohol can affect the breakdown of the hormone estrogen, increasing the amount of estrogen in the blood. Having more estrogen in the body than usual is a risk factor for breast, ovarian, and uterine cancer. This is of particular concern for premenopausal women and women taking menopausal hormone therapy.
As a result, drinking alcohol can impair the body’s ability to metabolize and absorb important nutrients, including: Vitamin A; Vitamin C; Vitamin D; Vitamin E; Folate; Carotenoids; Alcohol can cause weight gain, which also increases the risk of cancer.
In light of these harmful effects, the researchers recommend against drinking a lot of alcohol because drinking can increase the risk of certain cancers, even if you don’t drink regularly.
Avoid both alcohol and tobacco use, as the combination increases the risk of developing certain cancers. These include cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, and esophagus.
Eating enough folate may help protect against the risk of some alcohol-related cancers, such as breast cancer. Folate is found in green vegetables, fruits, dried beans and peas.
An Duong (Th)