Liver cancer, breast cancer, and other cancers are all tied to alcohol, and although there’s a lot of information put out about cancer prevention, the risk of alcohol are rarely included.
In most studies, drinking 3 or more alcoholic beverages a day is tied to a marked increase in cancer risk, but even half that increases the risk of cancer.
While liver cancer may be obvious, how alcohol contributes to other forms of cancer isn’t as clear. There’s evidence it may affect hormone levels (contributing to breast cancer) as well as interact with other drugs—like tobacco—to increase their ability to cause cancer.
More research is needed to investigate how age, race, drinking patterns, and other factors may play into alcohol-related cancers. There are always stories of people who drank and smoked their way to a ripe old age, but then, those stories get told because they’re the exception.
While there are acknowledged benefits to some forms of alcohol, they don’t outweigh the risks. If you choose to drink, remember that less (or none) is the safest amount. You should also consider your own risk factors: weight, family history for certains cancers, medical history (liver disease would be a big risk, but inflammatory diseases, etc. may also be risk factors), should also inform your decision to drink or not drink.
Does the risk of cancer affect your decision to drink alcohol?