Imagine finishing up a glass of wine and debating whether or not to pour yourself a second glassful. You might not be aware that there is a connection between alcohol consumption and cancer. Although there are numerous headlines on the Internet that suggest a drink or two a day is cardio-protective, the opposite is true for cancer.
Dr. Svetlana Popova, a professor at the University of Toronto, hopes that we also take note of a new Ontario report that highlights the connection between alcohol consumption and cancer. “People are not aware that alcohol can cause cancers,” she says. “We need more awareness in the population that alcohol is a carcinogen.”
In this article, I will reveal some things you may not have known about this dangerous link between alcohol and cancer.
Worldwide, every year, over two million deaths are linked to alcohol, according to a report in the Annals of Oncology.
Additionally, a recent Harvard study shows a dose-dependent risk of the number of alcoholic drinks and the risk of developing breast cancer. Women who drank three to six drinks a week increased their breast cancer risk by 15%, and those who drank an average of two drinks a day increased their risk by 51%. But despite the evidence, just a third of Canadians are aware they can lower their cancer risk by reducing the amount of alcohol they drink.
Here are some thoughts for consideration before
you pour your next drink:
Drink in Moderation
The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse recommends that women consume no more than two drinks a day, and men no more than three. Personally I think this is still too high. The American Cancer Society has a more conservative protocol, and suggests that people who drink alcohol limit their intake to no more than 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink a day for women. . And whether you drink it all in one go or a bit at a time, it’s the total quantity of alcohol you consume which increases your risk of cancer.
I often get asked whether red wine is a healthier option. But it’s not the type of alcohol that’s important. What matters is how much you drink and how often. And so, drink in moderation and when it comes to lowering your cancer risk, try to abstain from alcohol altogether.
Don’t Drink and Smoke
Alcohol makes it easier for cancer-causing chemicals, such as those found in tobacco, to be absorbed in the mouth or throat. So those who drink and smoke will multiply their risk for developing cancer.
How Alcohol Causes Cancer
Although how alcohol causes cancer is not yet fully understood, there is strong evidence that how our bodies break down alcohol is the culprit.
Alcohol converts into acetaldehyde mainly in our liver, but also in our mouth and gut too. Acetaldehyde can cause cancer by damaging our DNA and preventing it from being repaired. If you drink on an empty stomach, you will get intoxicated more quickly which means alcohol stays in your bloodstream longer, causing more harm.
So take a sober second thought – maybe that extra drink isn’t worth it? Alcohol’s narrative isn’t just all about drinking and driving anymore.
Dr Elizabeth Goldspink N.D. Recommends: Alcohol Support Complex
Alcohol leeches B Vitamins and Magnesium out of the body. Magnesium maintains normal cardiac rhythm, proper muscle and nerve function, and supports the immune system and bone integrity.
ELAINE CHIN, M.D., M.B.A. FOUNDER, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER North American trailblazer in Precision Medicine. Founder of Executive Health Centre, a Medical Wellness and Anti-Aging Clinic. Medical expert on CitylineTV and in Good Housekeeping Magazine’s GH Institute.