Frank Salvatore
Health and Lifestyle

Alcohol’s Role in Cancer

September 1, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Obesity continues to be on the rise with almost one third of the American population suffering from obesity, costing the country over $147 billion annual in medical costs.
There are several causes to the rise in obesity rates including overeating, sedentary lifestyle, and even eating the wrong foods. For example, carbohydrates make the blood sugar have peaks and valleys, which leads to weight gain. Alcohol, being a carbohydrate, may lead to this as well, causing hunger more often. Alcohol has also been linked to several cancers.

Cancer and Alcohol Consumption

Research has shown that alcohol has been linked to many types of cancers and its incidence continues to rise. Over the past 12 years, the percentage of deaths related to alcohol and cancer has increased by 62 percent worldwide. However, the causation of this statistic can not be concretely concluded, as the increase may be due to an increase in unhealthy lifestyles in the population. Even light drinking has been linked to an increased chance of developing cancer.

Breast Cancer and Alcohol

Alcohol can raise your estrogen level, and also affect hormones in men. Chronic use of alcohol in males is associated with infertility and testicular failure. Feminine symptoms in men also suggest that alcohol contains phytoestrogens, which mimic estrogen in the body.

An increased rate of estrogen in the body is linked with increased cell growth, which can accelerate the progression of breast and prostate cancers. This has been seen in people who not only drink heavily, but also those who drink moderately. These findings show that if you have been diagnosed with breast or prostate cancer, it is best to avoid alcohol.

Colon Cancer Increasingly Prevalent in People Under 50

Studies have found that 1 out of 7 people diagnosed with colon cancer are under the age of 50, however the current recommended age to get screened for colon cancer is 50. The cancers are being found in younger ages after people develop symptoms such as bowel blockage, anemia, and bloody stools.

In studies linking alcohol use to cancer, colorectal cancers have been found to have the greatest link to alcohol overall. A 2004 study found that people who drink more than one alcoholic drink per day have a 70% increased chance to developing colon cancer.

Sugar Is a Major Contributor

Alcohol is a carbohydrate that your body metabolizes into sugar. This raises your risk of chronic high blood sugar and insulin resistance. The empty calories in alcohol also cause it to contribute to obesity because the body cannot do anything with its contents.

Alcohol may double the risk of developing cancers because it increases the rate of obesity as well as increases your exposure to acetaldehyde. Studies have shown that almost half of U.S. healthcare expenditures are for diseases that are directly related to the over-consumption of sugar.

Researchers have also linked cancer with high BMIs, obesity, or being overweight. One quarter of the cancer cases in 2012 were directly attributed to an increase in average BMI since the early 1990s.

Sugar metabolism and cancer cells both thrive anaerobically, and without sugar, many cancers cannot produce enough energy to live. Reducing your net carbohydrate intake will essentially starve cancer cells.

When it comes to alcohol, however, one can of beer contains 13 grams of carbohydrates, which shows that just one glass of alcohol every day can make a significant dent in your intake of carbohydrates without adding anything beneficial to your body. This also contributes to obesity, insulin resistance, and cancer.

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Frank Salvatore