Is Alcohol Abuse Linked to Cancer?
Both cancer and alcohol use disorder (AUD) are complex matters. Each involves an intricate web of factors and correlating issues, making it hard or impossible to determine their singular cause. However, alcohol abuse can increase the risk of developing cancer.
During Cancer Prevention Month, we want to help those struggling with alcohol abuse regain long-term control of their health. With the most advanced therapeutic services, it’s possible to beat addiction and reduce the risk of cancer.
Cancer Prevention Month | Spotlight on Alcohol
For those contending with either issue, exploring questions about “how does alcohol abuse increase cancer risk?” becomes much easier in the company of experienced addiction specialists. This Cancer Awareness Month, take stock and learn about the link between cancer and alcohol intake.
It is clear that alcohol affects mental and physical health. Depending on the type of cancer, alcohol abuse can increase the risk of cancer by anywhere between 50 and 500%. The relationship is more or less pronounced depending on the type of cancer and severity of the addiction.
Beginning with the strongest data, there’s a strongly established causal relationship between alcohol abuse and the following cancers:
- Liver cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Head and neck cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Breast cancer
Alcohol abuse is also suspected of playing a role in stomach, gallbladder, pancreatic, and prostate cancer. The correlation between alcohol abuse and higher rates of skin, lung, and ovarian cancers has also been theorized.
Different amounts of alcohol can increase the likelihood of certain cancers. For those concerned about the impact of alcohol abuse on physical health, whether theirs or a loved one’s, be aware of the following complications.
Alcohol Abuse and Overall Physical Health
Many begin drinking habits, knowing it’s less than optimal for their health. It simply seems like a small price to pay for the perceived benefits (at least at first). The sad truth is by the time its health ramifications are clear. It’s much harder to stop than once thought. As general health worsens, the assumption one can quit when they want is based on a perspective one just doesn’t have anymore.
Much of the difficulty is due to the ravages alcohol takes on overall physical well-being, including the brain. Alcohol particularly impacts the prefrontal cortex, which is required for easier decision-making. It also impairs the cingulate cortex, which houses the cingulate gyrus — an essential brain structure in how thought patterns become fixated. One can see how it’s almost inevitable for drinking to produce a mindset that almost must use.
Yet our clinicians have seen time and again how powerful the human will for health and happiness truly is. With the right support, those suffering from alcohol addiction find the renewal of hope required to mend their body.
With a new beginning, recovery can begin in earnest to address and reverse other physical effects of alcohol abuse:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Liver damage
- Digestion issues
- Chronic dehydration
- Neurotransmitter deficits
- Increased stress levels
- Hormonal imbalance
- Sleep disturbances
The good news? All these conditions can be improved, or even reversed, with a singular commitment to confronting one’s dependency on alcohol — and it’s never too late to start.
Alcohol Abuse and Cancer
Long-term reliance on alcohol and cancer share a strong correlation, and a causal relationship is firmly established. This is due to several compounding factors related to the physical effects of alcohol abuse, including:
- DNA and body tissue damage
- Depletion of important cancer-fighting nutrients, such as vitamins A, C, D, E, and the B complex
- Interference with other nutritional compounds important for overall health and breaking down tumor cells
- Excess estrogen and other hormone dysregulation
- Establishment of a long-term acidic body chemistry
Note the type of alcoholic beverages consumed also impacts cancer risk. Additives such as artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup further encourage tumor growth. Because food labeling requirements are particularly lax for alcohol manufacturers, the dangers of alcohol abuse include a host of other nutritional problems.
Signs of Alcohol Abuse
The dangers of alcohol abuse can’t be attributed to a single quantified amount above which specific problems arise. Rather, it’s necessary to gauge whether alcohol use has become problematic by its physical, psychological, and emotional effects. Along with the physical health impacts of alcohol abuse covered above, pay close attention to your or your loved one’s emotional and psychological symptoms.
Difficulty moderating alcohol use, even in the absence of obvious physical issues, is a sign that regularly high alcohol consumption is taking its toll. Especially if brain fog becomes increasingly common, use has probably already crept into the territory of abuse.
Alcohol abuse can be incredibly difficult to detect. It can even be quite sly, as the perceived pleasurable effects of drinking obscure the side effects. That is until attempts to cut back are met with debilitating withdrawal symptoms. At that point, alcohol use is less of a pleasure-seeking activity — it becomes a way of avoiding pain.
This is the core question we help our clients address at our comfortable and advanced southern California alcohol treatment center: what pain is being avoided? Admittedly, the answer will be as varied as the individual is unique. In the care of a professional addiction specialist, though, finding those answers doesn’t have to be any more difficult than necessary.
Reduce Your Cancer Risk With Alcohol Abuse Treatment
As the dangers of alcohol abuse become more obvious to the individual or their loved ones, it may be necessary to seek addiction treatment. At our addiction treatment center in Santa Cruz County, California, those contending with alcohol addiction experience a fresh start.
Per each client’s needs, we provide an advanced combination of:
- Intensive one-on-one therapy
- Comfortable in-patient amenities
- Proven clinical and holistic treatments aimed at treating the whole individual
Situated between the San Jose and Santa Cruz hills, you’ll be in a nurturing home setting, more than a clinic. With beautiful views and peaceful quietude, we limit our availability to only six clients at a time to provide only the most thorough individual care.
It allows us to provide a high staff-to-client ratio, all of whom are adept in the most effective treatment modalities. Treatments are fully customized to the individual’s needs, which they discover under the guidance of our attentive, space-holding professionals.
This Cancer Awareness Month, take immediate action for your or your loved one’s health and well-being. Contact Wellness Retreat Recovery online, or call 1-855-SOBER-WR today. Our highly dedicated, knowledgeable, and experienced addictions counselors are standing by to assist you in taking bold steps toward sobriety and lasting happiness.