The 7 cancers you’re more likely to get if you drink alcohol

THE tragic reality is that half of all Brits will develop cancer at some point in their lifetimes.

So it’s worth doing everything we can to mitigate the risk, even if that means giving up some things we love – like booze.

Around one in 25 newly diagnosed cancer cases in the last year are associated with drinking alcohol


Around one in 25 newly diagnosed cancer cases in the last year are associated with drinking alcoholCredit: Getty

Medics say there are 7 known cancers which are directly caused by drinking alcohol.

These are:

  1. Mouth
  2. Upper throat
  3. Laryngeal
  4. Esophagus 
  5. Breast
  6. Liver 
  7. Bowel 

Now there is even clearer evidence that alcohol ups your risk of cancer, which has been highlighted by experts in updated guidance for medics.

Around one in 25 newly diagnosed cancer cases in the last year were associated with drinking alcohol, according to a global study published in The Lancet Oncology.

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The guidance, published by Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP), suggests ways healthcare professionals can help reduce new booze related cancers.

It called on medics to inform patients about the risks of cancer from drinking alcohol and offer guidance and support to those who want to reduce their alcohol consumption.

According to previously study from the University of Oxford, all types of alcohol can significantly increase your risk of seven different types of cancer.

Experts believe this is because of a harmful chemical called acetaldehyde which is produced by our bodies when we process alcohol.

The Oxford researchers found that acetaldehyde can break and damage DNA within stem cells – which are the building blocks of all organs, tissues, blood and the immune system.

The research, published in Nature, also discovered that some people who drink alcohol have a higher risk of developing cancer than others.

For those who develop a flushed complexion when they drink or feel unwell, experience four times as much DNA damage compared to those who don’t have those symptoms.

This is because some people don’t have the enzyme, known as aldehyde dehydrogenases, which breaks down and gets rid of harmful acetaldehyde made by our bodies in response to booze.

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Cancer symptoms can be broad-ranging and can often mask as everyday illnesses like cold or flu.

But it’s always better to err on the side of caution if you have any of these symptoms and speak to your GP, which according to the NHS could be a sign of cancer:

1. Coughing, chest pain and breathlessness

2. Changes in bowel habits

3. Bloating

4. Bleeding

5. Lumps

6. Moles

7. Unexplained weight loss

8. Tummy or back pain

9. Indigestion and heartburn

10. Itchy or yellow skin

11. Feeling tired and unwell

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Meanwhile, a different study has found that 61 per cent of cancer cases a year could have been prevented if people gave up smoking.

Smoking is known to cause at least 15 cancers, including lung, larynx, oesophagus, oral cavity, nasopharynx, pharynx, bladder, pancreas, kidney, liver, stomach, bowel, cervix, leukaemia, and ovarian cancers.

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