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Alcohol Consumption Cause Gastrointestinal Cancer

Alcohol Consumption Cause
Gastrointestinal Cancer

Man contemplates alcohol consumption

Most people associate smoking with cancer, which is a well-known fact. But many are unaware that drinking too much alcohol can also lead to cancer.

Studies have shown that alcohol significantly increases the risk of Gastrointestinal (GI) cancers, which affect various parts of your digestive system such as the oesophagus, stomach, liver, and intestines.

The longer and more frequently you drink, the greater your risk of developing cancer. If you consume alcohol regularly and are having unusual symptoms related to digestion or if you want to learn more about GI cancer, you can seek advice from Surgical Gastroenterologist.

Alcohol and tobacco consumption

How Does Alcohol Raise Cancer Risk?

The negative effects of alcohol on your body are numerous. It readily enters your cells and can damage your DNA, causing harmful changes, such as:

Alcohol and tobacco consumption
Women drinking alcohol

Tissue Damage

Alcohol can irritate tissues, particularly in your mouth and throat. When these damaged cells attempt to repair themselves, it can lead to DNA alterations that contribute to the development of cancer.

Toxic Chemicals

Once inside your body, alcohol changes into a substance called acetaldehyde. It is a compound that harms DNA within cells and is believed to cause cancer.

Liver Damage

Alcohol and its byproducts can harm your liver, leading to inflammation and scarring. As the liver cells work to repair the damage, they might develop DNA errors that let cancerous cells grow.

Interaction with Harmful Chemicals

Alcohol might aid harmful chemicals, like those in tobacco smoke, in entering cells lining your upper digestive tract more easily. This could be why combining smoking and drinking significantly increases the likelihood of mouth or throat cancers.

Nutrient Absorption

Alcohol might hinder the absorption of nutrients like folate, important for cell health. Heavy drinkers often consume low levels of folate, and this deficiency could play a part in certain cancers.

Hormonal Effects

In women, alcohol can raise estrogen levels, which can contribute to the growth of cancer.

Weight Gain

Excessive alcohol consumption can add extra calories to your diet, leading to weight gain. Being overweight is linked to increased cancer risks.

Women drinking alcohol
A doctor holding a stethoscope

Types of cancers associated with alcohol consumption

A doctor holding a stethoscope

Some of the cancers linked to alcohol use include:

Gastrointestinal Cancer Risk: How Much is Too Much?

When it comes to cancer risk, even a small amount of alcohol could increase the possibility. It’s not just about how much you drink – even a small amount can be risky. Currently, consuming 100 grams of alcohol per week or less is considered to be safe.

To lower the risk of cancer and other problems linked to alcohol, the CDC advises that you drink moderately. This means having up to one drink a day if you’re a woman and up to two drinks a day if you’re a man.

If you smoke, are overweight, or both, the risk of developing gastrointestinal cancer becomes even higher. So, remember these important factors and be cautious.

Man consulting a doctor for alcohol related diseases

What Are The Symptoms of GI Cancer?

Usually, GI cancer shows no signs and symptoms in the early stages. When it reaches an advanced stage, the symptoms that occur are:

Man consulting a doctor for alcohol related diseases

Usually, doctors can find GI cancers early through screenings, even before any signs show up. That’s why it’s important to talk to a gastroenterologist. They’re experts in these kinds of cancers and can help you stay on top of your health.

How to Prevent GI Cancer?

The best way to prevent GI cancer is early detection, which is only possible with cancer screening. The screening tests can aid in cancer diagnosis in its early stages when it’s easier to treat. These tests usually detect cancer before symptoms appear.

There are various GI cancer screening methods but the most commonly used is colonoscopy.

Prevent colon cancer with routine colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is a medical test that is used to examine the inside of your large intestine (colon) and rectum. This is performed using a flexible tube-like instrument known as a colonoscope. The instrument has a tiny camera and light attached to the end, which sends real-time images to a screen for the doctor to see.

During the procedure, the colonoscope is put in your rectum and moved into your colon. This procedure helps detect any abnormalities, such as polyps (small growths), tumours, inflammation, or other issues that might indicate cancer.

In addition to visual examination, the procedure is also used to remove polyps that may eventually become cancerous if left untreated. Removing them during the colonoscopy can help prevent the development of colorectal cancer.

Apart from screening tests, leading a healthy lifestyle is also crucial. Certain factors related to your overall health can affect your chances of GI cancer. To lower the risk, it’s important to start with healthy habits. This includes eating a balanced diet, staying active through regular exercise, avoiding smoking, and not drinking too much alcohol. These steps can go a long way in helping you lower the chances of developing GI cancer.


Regardless of the amount of alcohol you consume, it has a significant impact on your overall health and daily life. Alcohol should clearly be avoided. While preventing GI cancer might not always be possible, early detection can lead to effective treatment. Thus, you must have regular health check-ups especially if you have a family history of cancer or a genetic predisposition to it.

For the best GI cancer treatment, consult Gastro Specialist in addressing cancers related to the Pancreas, Gallbladder, and Liver. His expertise extends to performing surgeries for various GI cancers, managing complex GI diseases, and conducting advanced laparoscopic procedures.

Best Gastroenterologist in Hyderabad

Dr. K V Dinesh Reddy

MBBS; MS (Gen.Surg); DNB (Surg.Gastro)

Dr. Dinesh Reddy is the best gastroenterologist in Hyderabad. With extensive experience in digestive health, Dr. Reddy specializes in diagnosing and treating various gastrointestinal conditions. He employs the latest medical advancements to provide accurate diagnoses and personalized treatment plans. Dr. Reddy is dedicated to promoting digestive wellness and ensuring patient comfort. Whether it’s addressing stomach issues, liver concerns, or other gastrointestinal issues, Dr. Dinesh Reddy is committed to delivering quality care with a focus on your well-being. Trust in his expertise for comprehensive and effective gastroenterological care in Hyderabad.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some of the questions you might have about Alcohol Consumption

Yes, alcohol can impact your immune system. When you drink too much, it can weaken your body’s ability to fight off illnesses. Alcohol can disrupt the balance of good bacteria in your gut, making it harder for your immune system to work efficiently. It can also affect the production of important immune cells. So, if you’re trying to keep your immune system strong, it’s a good idea to drink alcohol in moderation. Remember, moderation means not too much, as excessive drinking can make you more susceptible to infections and other health issues.

Absolutely not. It’s crucial to avoid drinking alcohol during pregnancy. When you’re pregnant, whatever you eat or drink directly affects your baby. Alcohol can harm your baby’s development and lead to serious health issues, known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). There is no safe amount, and it’s best to stay away from alcohol altogether.

Alcohol can impact your weight in a few ways. First, it adds extra calories to your diet without providing any nutritional value. These extra calories can contribute to weight gain if not burned off through activity. Additionally, when you drink alcohol, your body tends to prioritize metabolizing it over burning fat. This means that while your body is working on breaking down the alcohol, it’s not efficiently burning calories from food. Also, alcohol might make you more likely to eat larger portions or make less healthy food choices. So, if you’re trying to manage your weight, it’s essential to be mindful of both your alcohol intake and food decisions.

Heavy drinking over the long term can seriously harm your health. It can lead to liver damage, causing conditions like cirrhosis. Your heart might get weaker, increasing the risk of heart disease. Memory and thinking abilities can decline, impacting daily life. Heavy drinking is linked to cancers in the liver, mouth, throat, and esophagus. It can mess with your immune system, making you more prone to illnesses. Mental health can suffer too, with increased risk of depression and anxiety. Relationships may strain, and work or school performance may dip. It’s crucial to seek support to reduce or quit heavy drinking for a healthier, happier future.

Alcohol poisoning happens when someone drinks a lot of alcohol in a short time, making their body struggle to handle it. It’s like overwhelming the body’s control center. Signs include confusion, vomiting, seizures, slow breathing, or even passing out.

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