Healthy Living: Eat Well, Drink Well, Be Well

The end of the year is often a time of celebration that can include the consumption of alcohol. From work events to holiday parties, opportunities abound to partake in spirits. With the holidays concluded, and a new year upon us, attention now turns to self-improvement, with making changes to what we eat and drink often the focal points for lifestyle changes.

During these times of reflection and planning for the future, Comprehensive Cancer Centers urges everyone making changes to rethink their consumption of alcohol. At the very least, drinking more in moderation is a great place to start, as numerous studies suggest potential links between excessive drinking of alcohol and increased cancer risks. Compelling evidence is being shared that suggests alcohol increases the risks for cancer including that of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, stomach and colon. Even small amounts of alcohol consumed regularly may increase risks for breast cancer.

Further highlighting the dangers of cancer, The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies alcohol as a Group 1 carcinogen, which is the same designation used for tobacco. The World Health Organization estimates that a least three percent of cancers are attributable to alcohol worldwide.

The study of how alcohol may cause cancer is evolving, with a focus on Ethanol, the alcohol found in common alcohol-based drinks and how it affects the human body.  Ethanol is a recognized carcinogen and when the body breaks down alcohol acetaldehyde is produced. Acetaldehyde is a chemical that both damages DNA and prevents the body from repairing the damage. Damaged DNA can make cells begin growing out of control, which can create cancerous tumors. Alcohol may also reduce the body’s absorption of folate, making it easier for potential carcinogens to enter cells.

For cancer prevention, AICR recommends not to drink alcohol. However, AICR also recognizes that modest amounts of alcohol may have benefits regarding prevention of heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes. If alcohol is consumed, guidelines recommend limiting consumption to no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. Alcohol also appears particularly harmful when combined with smoking, which is a habit Comprehensive Cancer Centers strongly urges everyone to never start or to stop immediately.

Lifestyle Choices to Improve Health and Reduce Risks

Making changes to daily routines, such as drinking alcohol isn’t always easy; however, by taking advantage of resources it is possible and your long-term health will enjoy the benefits. Some great resources for making lifestyle changes that are fun and rewarding can be found in the Comprehensive Cancer Centers’ blog. The blog has exercise tips to get active, recipes to eat better, and inspirational stories from the journeys of others to inspire you to action. Replacing drinking with other healthier activities is a great lifestyle choice to make in the new year.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help

Physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide a variety of treatment options for patients with cancer, blood disorders, breast health conditions, pulmonary disease and sleep disorders. The practice also has a long-standing history of participating in clinical research conducting more than 170 Phase I, II and III clinical research studies each year. To schedule an appointment with the team at Comprehensive, please call 702-952-3350.


The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.