A recent research article published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention, A journal of the American Association for Cancer, shows that more than 50% of Americans do not know how alcoholic drinks affect cancer risk.
The data from 2020 surveyed nearly 4,000 American adults about the link between alcohol and cancer risk, founding that incorrectly, 10% of U.S.
adults believed wine decreases cancer risk, while around 2% believed beer and liquor decrease risk.
The truth is that drinking alcohol of any kind, including liquor, beer, and wine, is a leading risk factor for developing cancer. Alcohol is considered a risk factor in at least six different cancers: mouth, pharynx, and larynx cancers, along with esophageal, breast, colorectal, stomach, and liver.
According to Edward Giovannucci, MD, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, the main reason alcohol can cause cancer is that it produces a carcinogen called acetaldehyde when the body metabolizes it.
The human body naturally produces acetaldehyde in small amounts, but in large amounts, it can cause DNA damage, which is how carcinogens create abnormal cancer cells. Aside from acetaldehyde, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can cause a breakdown in the tissues.