Alcohol can have deadly effects on the body that can be irreversible if a person doesn’t seek treatment. Alcohol is said to be responsible for one in 20 deaths around the world. A new study published in the journal Lancet Oncology titled “Global Burden of Cancer in 2020 Attributable to Alcohol Consumption: A Population-Based Study” finds this number is even higher when considering cancer in men due to alcoholism.

Cancer and Alcohol

In the liver, alcohol gets converted into the chemical acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde has been found to be carcinogenic. This chemical causes damage to your DNA and stops repair in cells of specific tissues or organs, leading to cancer.

Alcohol can ruin the cells in your liver and cause liver cirrhosis, increasing your odds of liver cancer. Cancer of the mouth, larynx, colon, rectum, and liver can be caused by alcohol abuse.

The Procedures of the Study

Researchers at the International Agency for Research on Cancer used the database GLOBOCAN2020 to obtain 2010 data from the Global Information System on Alcohol and Health. The research team factored in a ten-year gap between alcohol use and cancer diagnosis based on current studies.

From the two data sets, population attributable fractions were used to estimate how many cancer cases could have been avoided if no one in the data set consumed alcohol. The researchers combined data on alcohol consumption, the risk of developing cancer, and the estimated number of cancer cases in the population.

The Results of the Study

The study found that more than four percent of newly diagnosed cancers in 2020 may be associated with drinking alcohol, accounting for more than 740,000 new cancer cases. Heavy and binge drinking were associated with the highest number of cancer cases. Even just two daily drinks resulted in more than 103,000 new cancer cases in 2020.

Men More at Risk for Alcohol-Related Cancer

Men accounted for more than 77% of alcohol-related cancer cases, while women accounted for 23%. The gender disparity may be due to the different levels of alcohol use each gender consumes annually.

In 2017, it was shown that men drank more than three times the amount of alcohol a year than women. Studies like this can help increase public awareness of the link between alcohol consumption and cancer and inform policies to decrease alcohol consumption to decrease the risks of cancer.

A rise in alcohol use contributes directly to an increase in cancer cases. Using broad data sets, researchers were able to show a stronger link than previously suggested between alcohol and cancer, especially in men. At Alta Loma, we are equipped to handle alcoholism and teach you how to live a sober life. Located in Georgetown, Texas, we can provide you with individualized therapy, 12-Step programs, life and coping skills education, medication management, and more. Give us a call at (866) 457-3843 for more information.