Did you know that only 39% of Americans are aware of the link between alcohol use and cancer? Scientist in the UK have found that certain cancers are more prominent within people that drink more alcohol over others that drink less or don’t drink at all. Alcohol causes 4% of cancers in the UK, around 12,800 cases, EVERY YEAR!
In our bodies, alcohol (ethanol) is broken down and converted into a toxic chemical known as acetaldehyde. This chemical can cause cancer by damaging the bodies DNA and keeping the cells within the body from repairing the damage. The International Agency of Research on Cancer have classified acetaldehyde formed as result of drinking alcohol as being a cause of cancer, along with alcohol itself. The acetaldehyde chemical also increases growth of liver cells, which can lead to changes in their genes and could potentially lead to cancer.
Of course the less you drink the better. Regularly drinking just one pint of beer or one glass of wine can increase the risk of mouth, upper throat, esophageal, breast, and bowel cancers. The more you reduce your alcohol intake, the more you reduce your risk for developing these certain types of cancers. Along with cancer, you will also be reducing the risk for accidents or injuries, high blood pressure, liver disease, and pancreatitis by decreasing the amount of alcohol consumed.
Here are some tips on how to cut down on alcohol use:
- Have more alcohol-free days a week. Set certain days with your partner or friend and help each other stick to it.
- If you are planning to drink alcohol, decide on a limit in advance and make sure you don’t go over it.
- Swap every other alcoholic drink for a non-alcoholic drink.
- Try shandy instead of a pint of beer, or swap some wine for soda and a spritzer.
- Don’t stock up on beer, wine, or spirits at home.
- Finish one drink before pouring another, because topping off drinks makes it harder to keep track of how much you’ve had and when you planned to stop.
- Avoid buying drinks in rounds, that way you don’t have to keep pace with anyone.
- Tell a friend or partner that you’re cutting down on alcohol, they can support you- or even join you.