Some research has linked cancer and alcohol, but does that mean that we should all avoid any kind of alcohol altogether? Are their some alcohols that are better for us than others? Are there limits on how much alcohol is acceptable?
Pros of Alcohol Consumption
- The type of alcohol you drink does not appear to increase or decrease your cancer risks.
- There is no apparent difference between men and woman on an increase or decrease of cancer risks in general.
- Moderate, limited, alcohol consumption has been shown to possibly reduce the risk of some cancers, including Hodgkins Lymphoma, non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, and kidney cancer.
- Moderate amounts of alcohol (2 or less for men, 1 for woman) can decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Cons of Alcohol Consumption
- Alcohol increases risk factors for mouth, pharynx,larynx, and esophagus cancers.
- Alcohol increases tumor growth of some cancers.
- Alcohol can depress the immune system activity.
- Alcohol interacts with tobacco products to elevate cancer risks.
- Breast cancer risks increase as the quantity of alcohol consumption and the duration of that consumption increase.
- Drinking alcohol during pregnancy puts the pregnancy itself at risk and puts the fetus at risk for a variety of illnesses including Leukemia and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
- Binge drinking and long-term alcohol consumption is linked to a variety of cancers, including pancreatic cancer and liver cancer.
How alcohol causes cancer is not completely known.It could be that alcohol increases hormone levels (unhealthily), causing cancer, or it may just be carcinogenic because of the way it is metabolized in our bodies (causing cells to be more vulnerable to other cancer-causing agents like tobacco).
Since there are some possible, limited benefits from alcohol, moderate drinking is generally accepted for both men and woman. While no amount of alcohol consumption is actually recommended, limiting intake to two or few drinks for men and one or less for women, daily, is the standard caution.