Alcohol is a known carcinogen, and drinking alcohol increases the risk of developing cancer. The more alcohol you drink, the higher your risk. Even moderate drinking can increase the risk of some cancers.
Alcohol can cause cancer in a number of ways. It can damage DNA, interfere with cell repair, and increase inflammation. Alcohol can also cause changes in hormone levels, which can promote the growth of cancer cells.
Alcohol is linked to an increased risk of the following types of cancer:
- Breast cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Head and neck cancer
- Liver cancer
- Oral cancer
- Pharyngeal cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Laryngeal cancer
The risk of cancer increases with the amount of alcohol you drink. For example, women who drink more than two drinks per day have a 40% higher risk of breast cancer than women who don’t drink alcohol. And men who drink more than three drinks per day have a 50% higher risk of esophageal cancer than men who don’t drink alcohol.
If you are concerned about your cancer risk, it is important to limit your alcohol intake. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults have no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
If you are already drinking more than the recommended amount, it is important to cut back. Even a small reduction in alcohol intake can reduce your cancer risk.
Here are some tips for reducing your alcohol intake:
- Set a daily or weekly limit on how much you will drink.
- Alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks, such as water or juice.
- Avoid drinking games and other activities that encourage people to drink quickly.
- Eat before or while drinking alcohol.
- Don’t drink alcohol on an empty stomach.
- If you are going out, make a plan for how you will get home without driving.
If you are having trouble reducing your alcohol intake, talk to your doctor. They can help you develop a plan and provide support.