Alcohol and cancer

No matter what type of alcohol you drink, alcohol will always increase your risk of cancer.

Not everyone who consumes alcohol, or drinks regularly will develop cancer but scientists have found evidence that certain cancers occur more commonly in people that consume more alcohol that than those who do not.

In 2011 a study was published that showed alcohol was (and still is) responsible for about 4% of cancer cases in the UK.

Research so far has not been able to explain in full detail about how alcohol acts to cause several types of cancer but there are certain theories with strong evidence.


By drinking alcohol regularly, or binge drinking alcohol you can heighten your risk of developing 7 different types of cancer. The most common occurring of these 7 is Bowel cancer, closely followed by Breast cancer in women.

Increased risk of bowel cancer with heavy drinking

Top two increased-risk cancers from drinking alcohol

Bowel cancer can occur in both men and women. A study showed that heavy drinkers (four or more drinks a day) had an increased risk of bowel cancer by 50%.

The risk of breast cancer in a woman increases with the more alcohol a woman consumes. In 2012 evidence showed that by having one drink a day a woman could increase the likelihood of getting breast cancer by 5%. Alcohol can decrease and increase levels of hormones in the body, and an unusually high increase in oestrogen could lead to breast cancer.

After you stop drinking alcohol are you still at risk of getting cancer?

It may take quite a lot of time, even a few years, to reduce the risk of alcohol related cancers back down to an equal level of someone who doesn’t drink alcohol, but even with no immediate decline in risk, results have proven that the risk will decline, even if it takes some time, so it’s definitely worth opting for non-alcoholic drinks.

Would one person be more at risk than another based on their body?

Alcohol related cancers can, and are, influenced by a person’s genes, specifically genes that code for the enzymes which break down (metabolize) alcohol. So depending on these genes one person can be more at risk than another .

There is no ‘safe’ amount of alcohol you can drink, but the risk of developing cancer is decreased greatly if you drink within the set government guidelines or cut out alcohol completely.

What are your thoughts?



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