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What Is the Relation Between Alcohol and Skin Cancer?

Pathkind Team 515 Views
Updated: 12 Oct 2023
Published: 14 Mar 2018
Relation between Alcohol and Skin Cancer

Consumption of alcohol is often accompanied by mixed reactions from people as it has its own benefits as well as side effects. While most of the medicines have some alcohol content making it ideal for treating many diseases, excessive intake of it is also known to adversely impact the health of people.

As per the Cancer Prevention Committee of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, you should limit your alcohol consumption as it is considered a modifiable risk factor for cancer. Several studies have been conducted to determine the relation between alcohol and skin cancer with varying results.

According to one research, alcohol intake was found to be associated with two of the most common types of skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma) along with melanoma. Another study found that with every 10g increase in alcohol consumption in distilled spirit form such as a beer or glass of wine, there’s a 7% and 11% increased risk of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma respectively. A 20% increased risk of melanoma was seen in alcohol drinkers compared to the non-drinkers or occasional drinkers. The risk percentage raised to 55% for people who consumed over 50g of alcohol per day.

Although our body generally recovers from the mutations in DNA caused by the ultraviolet light of the sun, one of the byproducts produced when our body metabolizes alcohol is known to interrupt the DNA repair process, which poses a risk of cancer. Alcohol can also lead to formation of ‘reactive oxygen species’ which can damage the DNA.

Apart from this, consumption of alcohol is also associated with suffering an increased damage from the ultraviolet light and suppression of the immune system. However, the fact remains that alcohol consumption has only been linked to increasing the chances of sunburn, and there is no concrete evidence of its direct relation with skin cancer. One study has also shown that people who consume white wine are a higher risk of skin cancer due to its lower antioxidant levels.

Excess of everything is bad. The American Cancer Society recommends that men should limit their daily alcohol consumption to two drinks per day, while women shouldn’t have more than one drink per day.

If you’re a heavy drinker, it is extremely important that you regularly get a blood test done. The pathology test report will give you an exact indication of how healthy your body is and how much damage consuming alcohol has caused. Also, the blood test can also effectively determine the development of any cancerous activity so that the necessary treatment can be soon undertaken.

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