It’s no secret that alcohol can have a negative consequences for your health, especially if you struggle with a substance use disorder. But exactly how dangerous is alcohol? And does alcohol cause cancer? This article goes through everything you need to know about the risks of drinking alcohol and how to protect yourself from the life-threatening effects of addiction.
Does Drinking Alcohol Cause Cancer?
You might be familiar with some of the other dangers that drinking alcohol can lead to: addiction, mental health concerns, and liver disease, for example. On the other hand, the link between alcohol and cancer is widely unknown by Americans and others around the world. Many people are left wondering, “Does alcohol cause cancer?”
It’s important to know that drinking alcohol is a risk factor for you to develop multiple types of cancers. Let’s look at the most common types of cancer that are connected to alcohol consumption:
- Alcohol and Breast Cancer—In addition to the harm alcohol does on your DNA, experts believe that drinking alcohol increases the production of estrogen, which is one of the many hormones linked to breast cancer. For women who drink alcohol, the chances of developing breast cancer are much higher than in those who do not drink. Research shows that if you have three drinks per week on average, your risk of developing breast cancer goes up by 15 percent. The more you drink, the higher the risk for health consequences as well.
- Alcohol and Pancreatic Cancer—Studies show that heavy drinking, specifically in men, can greatly increase the risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Binge drinking was a factor that stood out in this connection between alcohol and pancreatic cancer.
- Alcohol and Colon Cancer—As we learned earlier, drinking alcohol can damage your DNA, which is a significant risk when it comes to alcohol and colon cancer. Furthermore, one study shows a connection between alcoholism, poor diet, and an increased risk for developing cancer. Unfortunately, colon cancer is the second most deadly cancer in both men and women.
- Alcohol and Esophageal Cancer—Esophageal cancer can affect your mouth, throat, and chest. Not only does drinking alcohol increase the risk of developing esophageal cancer, but alcohol consumption can also make it much more painful to swallow and digest foods when you have this type of cancer.
- Alcohol and Prostate Cancer—This is another type of cancer that is especially dangerous for men who drink even just a moderate amount of alcohol. In fact, if you frequently drink alcohol, your chance of getting prostate cancer doubles.
The connection between alcohol and cancer is incredibly clear. Going out for a drink with friends or having a glass of wine after a long day is riskier than you might have previously thought. So, now that you know the answer to the question “Does alcohol actually cause cancer?” you can learn ways to protect yourself from the potential harm before it is too late.
How to Protect Yourself from Cancer
Of course, the frightening reality is that anybody can get cancer regardless of how much or how little alcohol they drink. However, all of the studies shared above show just how much influence alcohol can have on your health. On top of this connection between alcohol and cancer, addiction to alcohol can have serious detrimental effects on the rest of your body, including your mental health.
The only guaranteed way to lower your risks of developing cancer, worsening mental health symptoms, or even a weakened immune system as a result of alcohol consumption is to find treatment for addiction. In treatment, you will have access to a safe, supportive environment to get you started on your recovery journey.
First, you will undergo a medically assisted detox from alcohol and any other substances you might use frequently. During detox, you will be monitored by health experts to ensure that you do not have any dangerous withdrawal symptoms. This process prepares you for the emotional and mental work it takes to find recovery.
After detox, you will have the opportunity to participate in various treatment options. Your treatment plan is created with your specific needs and recovery goals in mind. Some of the treatment paths you might take include:
- Group therapy
- Medication management
- Recreational therapy
- Addiction education
- Inpatient treatment
- Dual diagnosis treatment
- Relapse prevention
- After-care preparation
Going through treatment doesn’t just help you eliminate the additional risk of developing cancer from alcohol or drug use—treatment also gives you the space to learn more about yourself, your goals, and your strength in tackling the struggles of addiction. If you are hoping to work toward a happier, healthier lifestyle, consider all of the benefits that treatment might have on your health and on your future.
Lower Your Risk at The Blackberry Center
You don’t have to continue having those anxious thoughts that say, “Does alcohol cause cancer? Will I get it?” You can begin to lower your risks of developing cancer and other health concerns that come from an addiction to alcohol by calling the Blackberry Center at 888-512-9802 or by filling out a confidential contact form today.
Nestled in a tranquil setting just outside of Orlando, in Central Florida, our mental health facility provides patients with a safe place to reflect, reset and heal.