5 Things You Need to Know About Alcohol and Cancer

Rethink your alcohol consumption to decrease your risk of cancer.

Most of us are familiar with the link between some lifestyle behaviors and cancer - such as smoking or sedentary lifestyle.

But some people may be surprised by the fact that alcohol consumption is also a risk factor for cancer and that these combined lifestyle factors contribute to up to 40% of cancers.

Given that 26.4% of the total Brazilian population consumes alcohol, it is important to understand how alcohol use increases the risk of cancer.

Consumo de bebida alcoólica uma ou mais vezes por semana numa população com 18 anos ou mais

Here are five things you need to know about alcohol.

1 - Alcohol can affect the normal functions of the body's cells, causing them to grow wildly and turn into a cancerous tumor.

Drinking alcohol increases the risk of having at least six different types of cancer - mouth and throat, vocal box (larynx), esophagus, colon and rectum, liver and breast in women.

2 - The risk of cancer increases with the number of drinks consumed, and even one drink per day increases the risk of developing some types of cancer.

Some people should not drink alcohol at all, including people under the age of 21, women who are or may be pregnant, and people who take certain medications.

3 - Although the consumption of a single drink per day increases the risk of cancer, excessive alcohol consumption is particularly risky.

Excessive drinking is consuming four drinks or more for women and five drinks or more for men on a single occasion.

Excessive alcohol consumption puts people at risk of many short- and long-term outcomes, in addition to cancer, such as injury, violence, and stroke.

Drinking any type of alcohol can contribute to cancer of the mouth and throat, larynx (throat), esophagus, colon and rectum, liver and breast in women.

4 - All types of alcoholic beverages, including red and white wine, beer, cocktails and liqueurs, are related to cancer.

5 - Some people may not realize the amount of alcohol they are drinking. So, what's a drink? A standard drink is equal to 14 grams (0.6 ounces) of pure alcohol. That's:

12 ounces of beer (5% alcohol content).

8 ounces malt liquor (7% alcohol content).

5 ounces of wine (alcohol content 12%).

1.5 ounces or a "dose" of distilled alcohol or liquor 80-80 (40% alcohol content) (such as gin, rum, vodka, whiskey).

Rethink your drink. Reducing alcohol use can decrease the risk of cancer.


CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

National Health Survey 2019 - Volume 4


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