Cancer: No Amount of Alcohol Is Safe

When it comes to cancer no amount of alcohol is safe according to the 2014 World Cancer Report (WCR), issued by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Alcohol was declared a carcinogen in 1988 but as a society we seem to deny any relation with light to moderate drinking and many health gurus even advocate a glass of red wine for cardiovascular health.  However, there is an increased risk of cancer and the risk increases with the amount to alcohol consumed regardless of it being beer, wine or spirits.

A causal relationship exists between alcohol consumption and cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, colon-rectum, liver, and female breast; a significant relationship also exists between alcohol consumption and pancreatic cancer. Links have also been made between alcohol consumption and leukemia; multiple myeloma; and cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, and skin, but fewer studies have looked at these relationships and more research is needed to establish a confirmed association. For bladder, lung, and stomach cancers, the evidence for an alcohol-cancer link is conflicting.

Although the biological mechanisms that mediate alcohol-related cancer are not fully understood alcoholic beverages can contain at least 15 carcinogenic compounds.  Alcohol can work against the absorption of folate and impair DNA, increase estrogen levels and the activity of insulin-like growth factor receptors, which can stimulate mammary cell proliferation in breast cancer.

The current advice is to limit alcohol intake to one alcoholic beverage for women and two for men 3 days per week. That is if you choose to consume alcohol at all.  Maybe challenge yourself to take a break for 30 days and see how your health changes- you may not want to go back.