Addiction Recovery Blog

Alcohol – A cancer risk “hiding in plain sight.”

[fa icon="calendar"] Feb 19, 2013 / by Russ Kallina

Russ Kallina

Cancer is a risk

A new study linking cancer deaths and alcohol use demonstrates the strong link between addiction and primary care health – a core principle of Aquila Recovery’s mission.

David E. Nelson, MD MPH of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD, cites his research work with colleagues in the American Journal of Public Health attributing, from 3.2% to 3.7% of cancer deaths to alcohol use. Some key points:

  • Breast cancer and upper airway/esophageal cancer were highly affected by alcohol consumption. 56% to 66% of breast cancer deaths, and 53% to 71% of upper airway and esophageal cancers deaths were attributed to alcohol drinking.
  • Alcohol-attributable cancers result in the loss of nearly 20 years of potential life.
  • A third of the alcohol-attributable cancer deaths were people who drank less than 1.5 drinks per day.

“The relationship between alcohol and cancer is strong, but is not appreciated by the public and remains underemphasized even by physicians,” said Timothy Naimi, one of the study’s authors. “Alcohol is a big preventable cancer risk factor that has been hiding in plain sight.”

When you drink alcohol, your body breaks it down into a chemical called acetaldehyde which can damage your DNA and a tumor can form as a result. This evidence supports Aquila’s drive to bridge the gap between primary care health providers and addiction treatment.

We can no longer tolerate the practice of depending more on the courts to refer people to treatment than on primary care doctors to do so. Waiting to treat patients until their late stage alcoholism results in crisis, accidents, or loss of life and is unnecessary, costly and often fatal.

At Aquila, we are dedicated to help you live a better, free life, away from the constrains of alcohol. Contact us to speak with an unbiased addiction treatment specialist for a no-commitment consultation. There is no shame in reaching out to ask for help or to talk about what some options are to quit or cut back on your drinking. It could be the most important call you’ll ever make.

Russ Kallina

Written by Russ Kallina

Russ Kallina is Aquila Recovery of Virginia's Program Director of Operations.

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