1) Can alcohol cause cancer?
A new study published in the November 5, 1998 issue of the American Medical Tribune confirmed that drinking a glass of beer or a small glass of whiskey daily may increase the risk of oral, throat, and esophageal cancer. The Tribune had previously reported that women who regularly drank alcoholic beverages had a higher chance of developing breast cancer. Alcohol consumption may increase estrogen levels or other hormones.
In 1998, the Swedish Medical Research Council reported that excessive alcohol consumption can induce cancer. The study warned that the risk of cancer increases if the amount of alcohol (ethanol) in the drinks consumed in a day exceeds 10 grams. 10 grams of alcohol (ethanol) is approximately equivalent to 25 ml of 40° spirits, 50 ml of 20° wine, or 200 ml of 5° beer. The report pointed out that ethanol has a significant relationship with oral, throat, tracheal, esophageal, and liver cancer. About 75% of head and neck cancers are caused by alcohol and smoking. In Sweden, approximately 3% of all cancers are attributed to alcohol consumption.
In the 1970s, scientists investigated workers at a Danish brewery and found that the incidence of esophageal, throat, lung, and liver cancer among the workers was many times higher than that of the general population. The brewery provided the workers with about 2 liters of free beer daily. The incidence of esophageal cancer was 25 times higher than that of the general population, and the incidence of throat cancer was 10 times higher. However, there was no increased incidence of cancer among workers involved in the production of soft drinks and soda water.
European and North American studies have shown that drinking can cause hepatitis, cirrhosis, and sometimes liver cancer. Chinese research has confirmed that drinking is a contributing factor to liver cancer, also known as a co-carcinogen. A study by the Shanghai Cancer Institute found that the incidence of liver cancer among individuals who continued to drink after hepatitis was twice as high as those who did not drink.
2) Why does drinking increase the incidence of cancer?
There are several reasons why drinking can lead to an increased risk of cancer: First, alcohol contains ethanol, which causes blood vessels in the digestive tract to dilate, dissolves the mucin on the surface of the digestive tract, and makes carcinogens in food more easily absorbed and act as a carcinogen. Second, alcohol reduces the liver’s detoxification function. The liver is an essential organ for detoxification in humans, and a small amount of toxins and carcinogens can be broken down in the liver. Excessive drinking can cause alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis, which reduce the liver’s detoxification function and allow carcinogens to exert their carcinogenic effects. Third, alcohol can suppress the immune function of the human body and enhance the activation of carcinogens. These studies show that although alcohol itself is not a carcinogen, it has a significant co-carcinogenic effect. Recently, Italian reports have suggested that alcohol is a direct carcinogen for liver cancer.
3) Do alcoholic beverages contain carcinogens?
Yes, some alcoholic beverages, including spirits, beer, wine, domestic and foreign wines, may contain small amounts of carcinogens. This is because the ingredients used in brewing, such as various grains and fruits, may be contaminated by mold, resulting in alcoholic beverages containing small amounts of carcinogenic mold toxins. Years ago, American Bukins pointed out that common beers in his country contained significant amounts of carcinogenic nitrosamines, which were produced during the drying process of the malt used in beer production. During the fermentation and distillation processes of producing alcoholic beverages, other carcinogenic chemicals are also produced, such as fusel oil and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Asbestos fibers, arsenic, and nickel, which are carcinogenic, have also been detected in alcoholic beverages. Although there are national standards for alcohol quality, small amounts of carcinogens may still be present. People who drink heavily or abuse alcohol may accumulate carcinogens in their bodies, causing harm.
Alcohol consumption should be limited, but pregnant women and children must avoid alcohol completely. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can lead to infant mental retardation or birth defects, and alcohol consumption in children can cause developmental abnormalities. Additionally, people with chronic hepatitis, fatty liver, liver cirrhosis, chronic gastritis, mastitis, and breast hyperplasia, overweight and obese individuals, and hypertension patients should abstain from alcohol because it can exacerbate your diseases and affect your treatment. Excessive alcohol consumption can damage your liver and heart muscle, leading to high blood pressure and increased triglyceride levels. For these reasons, alcohol consumption is not recommended as a preventive measure against heart disease.
Therefore, for health and cancer prevention, it is advisable not to drink alcohol.