If you are one of the many Americans who enjoys having a beer or drinks at the end of the workday, it turns out you could be increasing your risk of cancer. The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) released a statement on November 7, 2017, saying even light alcohol consumption can lead to several Types Of Cancer. The ASCO compiled previous data and current research to support their announcement.

Types of cancer linked with alcohol

The ASCO states that six percent of cancer deaths worldwide are linked directly to alcohol use. There have been new types of cancers forming globally, and five percent of them developed from light, moderate, and heavy alcohol usage.

The World Cancer Research Fund, another major organization, states that alcohol use causes seven different types cancers. Most of the cancers are affiliated with the upper digestive tract; such as the mouth, throat, and esophagus. Drinking just one alcoholic beverage per day has the following effects:

  • Five percent increase of breast cancer for women
  • Seventeen percent increase of oropharyngeal cancer (part of the middle throat)
  • Thirty percent increase in esophageal cancer

This information was conducted during a 2013 study cited by the ASCO, and the results were compared to those who rarely drink alcohol.

70 percent of Americans did not know about alcohol usage and cancer

In July 2017, the ASCO administered a nationwide survey about the increased risk of cancer from alcohol.

They released the results on October 24, 2017, showing that seventy percent of Americans age eighteen and up did not know alcohol could cause cancer (other than liver cancer). ASCO President Bruce Johnson announced to the press that "the link between increased alcohol consumption and cancer has been firmly established and gives the medical community guidance on how to help their patients reduce their risk of cancer."

A toxin from the ethanol is the culprit

The recent announcement definitely caught many people off guard, since studies have explained the health benefits of red wine.

While this may be true, doctors who worked with the ASCO reported that "the associations between alcohol drinking and cancer risk have been observed consistently regardless of the specific type of alcoholic beverage." Essentially, they're saying the type of alcohol consumed makes no difference because of a toxic chemical that can damage DNA and protein.

This toxin forms when the human body breaks down the ethanol in alcohol and it's known as acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is cancerous, and it binds to DNA and protein.

This doesn't mean that you should give up alcohol if you enjoy it, but those who consume more than two drinks a day should be careful of the potential health risk; since the warning is directed more towards moderate to heavy drinkers.