Alcohol Consumption Increases Your Cancer Risk by Damaging Your DNA

Alcohol consumption accounts for 5.5 percent of cancer cases and 5.8 percent of cancer deaths worldwide. (IJC)  Alcohol can cause cancer of the mouth and upper throat, larynx, esophagus, breast, liver and bowel. (Cancer Research UK)

“Alcohol is one of the few substances consistently linked to an increase of cancer,” says the American Society of Clinical Oncology.  “The type of alcohol – wine, beer or liquor – does not matter.”

A new study helps explain why.

UK researchers studied the effects of alcohol on lab mice.  Acetaldehyde, a chemical produced when your body processes alcohol, can break DNA strands in your stem cells and rearrange your chromosomes.  When your body is unable to repair this DNA damage, the mutations can lead to cancer.  People from Southeast Asia are particularly vulnerable.

“This research provides a simple plausible explanation for the established epidemiological link between alcohol consumption and enhanced cancer risk,” the study concludes.

The researchers used immunoglobulins (antibodies) from Dako, an Agilent subsidiary, in their work.

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