Many substance use disorders increase a person’s chance of developing a dangerous debilitating illness. Alcohol is no exception. In fact, alcohol contributes to a greater risk of some cancers in women. Scientific research shows that alcohol breaks down in the body into a chemical called acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde attacks DNA and stops your body from repairing any resulting damage. Damaged DNA can cause cells to grow and function abnormally and become cancerous.
An alcohol addiction treatment center can provide the resources you need to eliminate alcohol use as a cancer risk factor in your life. To seek help for alcohol addiction, please get in touch with the Crossroads team at 877.978.1667.
Types of Cancer Linked to Alcohol Abuse
An increase in alcohol consumption has been linked to an increased risk of the following cancers:
- Colon and rectum
In most cases, the more you drink, the greater your risk of cancer. But for breast cancer, which affects mostly women, even small amounts of alcohol can increase your risk. According to medical experts, alcohol causes estrogen levels to increase, as well as other hormones associated with breast cancer. Alcohol can also irritate the mouth and throat, damaging cells attempting to repair themselves. This irritation can lead to DNA changes that can cause cancer. Furthermore, alcohol consumption puts additional stress on cells that can create more molecules containing oxygen. This kind of stress and altering of cells also increases the risk of cancer.
Liver damage is also common among those that drink too much. The liver’s cells cannot repair the inflammation and scarring, known as cirrhosis, correctly. This failure also results in more DNA changes that can lead to cancer.
How Does Alcohol Increase the Risk of Cancer?
Research shows that the more alcohol a person drinks and the more often they drink puts them at a higher risk of some cancers. However, those that consume less are not completely exempt from risks either. There are many ways that alcohol can increase the risk of cancer, such as:
- The carcinogens present in alcohol because of contamination during the fermentation and production of the beverage
- Higher levels of estrogen, a sex hormone linked to breast cancer
- The metabolization of ethanol in alcoholic drinks to the DNA-damaging carcinogen known as acetaldehyde
- Reactive oxygen species (chemically reactive molecules that contain oxygen) that oxidize and cause damage to the body’s DNA, fats, and proteins
- The body’s inability to break down and absorb nutrients that contribute to the risk of cancer
While alcohol use is not a guarantee that you will develop cancer, it does put you at a heightened risk. Alcohol use can also quickly lead to an addiction, which puts you in further danger of major health risks. To avoid these diseases, it may be necessary to seek alcohol addiction treatment for women.
Contact Crossroads Today for Support
At Crossroads, we provide a variety of evidence-based therapeutic options for recovery from addiction. Our professional and caring team provides ongoing gender-responsive support in a safe, non-judgmental environment. Consider Crossroads a home away from home. In addition, mental health treatment services are incorporated into each woman’s individualized treatment plan because we recognize that even without a formal diagnosis of depression or anxiety, many may still experience symptoms alongside their addiction.
Our goal is that you feel more comfortable and confident knowing that both mental health and substance use concerns will be addressed while at Crossroads. Our team will work with you on strategies, skills, and the support necessary for lifelong recovery. Women may participate in a variety of programs and activities, including:
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Individualized therapy and counseling
- Yoga and meditation
- Recreational activities
Contact us for additional information on our women’s addiction treatment programs as well as programs for behavioral and mental health issues. Call 877.978.1667 today.