Imagine that a sip of wine touches your lips. It travels down the esophagus, stomach, intestines and is metabolized by the liver. And that’s exactly where the future cancers lie: the lips, mouth, larynx (voice box), pharynx or upper throat, esophagus (the food pipe), stomach, colon, rectum, and the liver. Then add in breast cancer, because ethanol is metabolized to estrogen, which is linked to breast cancer.
Drinking + Smoking = Greater Risk for Cancer
If you smoke and drink, you’re at increased risk of getting cancer of the mouth or throat, and the risk is higher than doing either one alone.
Alcohol also increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure (hypertension), stomach ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeds, pancreatitis, and falls, car accidents, and more. If you have fatty liver (you’re at increased risk if your waistline is too big and you also drink alcohol), you aggravate it with each sip of alcohol. Heavy drinkers also get cirrhosis of the liver, commonly diagnosed when itchy skin and yellow eyes declare themselves.
All Types of Alcohol Cause Cancer
It does not matter if you drink wine, beer, or hard alcohol. Ethanol is metabolized to acetaldehyde, a toxic chemical that damages DNA and stops repair, leading to cancer. Many people who drink alcohol also get a folate deficiency, which further contributes to loss of DNA repair and cancer.
The evidence linking an increased risk of a handful several cancers has been known since in 2010. In their 2017 review, Rehm et al linked over 40 ICD-10 medical billing diagnoses “wholly attributable” to ‘alcohol’ or ‘alcoholic’ include cardiomyopathy, pseudo-Cushing’s Syndrome, gastritis, gastric hemorrhage, infectious diseases, pneumonia, myopathy, pancreatitis and cancer. They also describe over 40 potentially alcohol-related broad diseases such as abortion, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, psoriasis, sexually transmitted diseases, and neonatal pregnancy complications.
The less alcohol you drink, the less likely you are to get cancer. The more you drink, the more likely you are to get cancer.
~ Margaret Aranda, MD, PhD
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Other works by Dr. Margaret Aranda: