Alcohol consumption is involved in the development of more than 200 diseases, according to the alcohol atlas of the German Cancer Research Center. Cancer is one of them.
“Epidemiological research shows that about 40 percent of all cancers can be traced to lifestyle and environmental factors,” explains Cancer Information Service chief Dr. Susanne Weg-Remers, in an interview with IPPEN.MEDIA. Risk factors that can be affected such as smoking, UV radiation, missing movement o Overweight, in addition to genetic predisposition, has a huge influence on the development of malignant tumors, according to the cancer expert.
Alcohol Cancer: “Better to do without it completely”
“Alcohol consumption is also one of the most important cancer risk factors,” says Weg-Remers: “It’s best to avoid it completely. If you don’t want it, you should definitely not drink regularly and not indefinitely.” The principle applies to healthy men: a maximum of 20-24 grams of alcohol per day, which corresponds to about 0.6 liters of beer. Healthy women should consume no more than 12 grams of alcohol per day.
Reality often looks different. A glass of wine or other alcoholic drinks accompany the daily beer after work. The German Center for Cancer Research (DKFZ) alcohol atlas 2022 shows the status of alcohol consumption in Germany. “We have positive developments, such as young people starting to consume alcohol later on, but Germany is still a high-drinking country,” said Federal Government Commissioner for Addiction and Drugs, Burkhard Blienert, in the preface to the atlas. alcohol. And this is not without consequences.
Alcohol is the most drunk in Saxony and Bavaria
According to estimates, more than 20,000 new cancer cases in Germany in 2022 can be traced back to alcohol consumption (around 14,000 in men and 6,200 in women). derives from the current alcoholic atlas. At about 45%, colorectal cancer accounts for the highest percentage of all cancers caused by alcohol consumption. Saxons and Bavarians in particular display risky drinking habits. In Saxony, for example, 26.7 percent of men consume more than 20 grams of pure alcohol per day. Among women, it is the Bavarians who consume the most alcohol. According to the Alcohol Atlas 2022, 13.8% of women drink more than ten grams of pure alcohol per day.
For most alcohol-related diseases, the risk of getting sick and dying increases as alcohol consumption increases, particularly for cancer, according to the current alcohol atlas.
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How alcohol promotes cancer
The German Center for Cancer Research attributes more than 8,000 cancer deaths in Germany to alcohol consumption. 6,200 victims were male, 2,100 female. Notably, colon and breast cancer were responsible for the majority of deaths, according to the Alcohol Atlas 2022. However, the risk of liver cancer, stomach cancer, laryngeal cancer and esophageal cancer would also increase. from alcohol consumption.
But why? In the body, ethanol is converted into acetaldehyde by oxidation processes. The intermediate product is very reactive and easily binds to human DNA, according to the German Cancer Society. This leads to mutations and therefore to cancer. Alcohol is also said to help other carcinogens to develop their effects. Such co-carcinogenic effects of alcohol have been demonstrated for the oral cavity, pharynx and esophagus, according to the German Cancer Society.
Picture of the column list: © Vasily Pindyurin / Imago