Recent studies link regular alcohol consumption to a higher risk of developing melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. The alcohol-and-sun combination not only makes cells more sensitive to light, but it also inhibits the cells’ natural immune response. Learn more about alcohol addiction and how it can impact your overall health.
What Research Tells Us About Alcohol and Skin Cancer
Researchers from the British Associate of Dermatologists discovered an increase in the melanoma risk by 20% in moderate to heavy drinkers. Moderate to heavy drinking is classified as having more than one drink per day and heavy drinking starts at four drinks per day. The more you drink the higher the risk. Researchers estimate an increased risk of 55% for heavy drinkers.
The study explains that ethanol is converted to a chemical compound called acetaldehyde, once ingested. The authors of the study theorize that this compound may act as a photosensitizer (making skin more sensitive to light). Drinking alcohol can also alter the body’s ability to produce a normal immune response in the presence of UV radiation, leading to far greater cellular damage and a higher probability that skin cancers will form.
Study Points to the Need to Better Protect Yourself
The study also mentions how alcohol can impair a person’s judgment, leading them to skip on the SPF or spend longer in the sun. The emphasis of the study, however, is on the biological changes rather than the behavioral factors that contribute to the higher risk of sun damage.
Dr. Eva Negri, one of the authors of the study, said: “This study aimed to quantify the extent to which the melanoma risk is increased with alcohol intake, and we hope, that armed with this knowledge, people can better protect themselves in the sun.”
Worldwide, alcohol use is one of the most significant, and potentially avoidable, risk factors for cancer. About 3.6% of all cancers (5.2% in men, 1.7% in women) show a direct connection to alcohol consumption. Alcohol is linked to seven different types of cancer according to Cancer Research UK.
These findings serve as a stark reminder of the broader, less prevalent negative effects of regular alcohol consumption. In addition to skin cancer, there are other dangers that we need to associate with alcohol consumption as well.
The Dangers of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Fetal alcohol syndrome is a serious condition that can occur in babies when their mothers drink alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol can cause serious damage to the baby’s brain and body. Fetal alcohol syndrome is the leading cause of preventable mental retardation in the United States.
Babies with fetal alcohol syndrome may have problems with learning, thinking, and doing things that other babies can do. They may also have problems with their physical development, including problems with their heart, bones, and genitals. Some babies with fetal alcohol syndrome die before they are born or soon after birth.
If you are pregnant, it is important to avoid drinking any alcohol. If you are a woman of childbearing age who is not pregnant, it is important to avoid drinking any alcohol if you are trying to get pregnant or could become pregnant. There is no safe amount of alcohol that a woman can drink during pregnancy.
Get Help With Alcohol Addiction
If you are struggling with alcohol addiction and need help, Gulf Breeze Recovery can provide you with the resources you need to get sober. We design our addiction treatment programs to meet your specific needs. In addition, we offer a variety of therapies and treatments to help you achieve sobriety. Finally, we offer aftercare programs to help you stay sober long-term.
If you have a loved one struggling with an alcohol problem who needs help, contact Gulf Breeze Recovery today at 833.551.2304 for more information on our successful treatment program.