Research Shows Alcohol Abuse Can Cause Colorectal Cancer

colorectal cancerIn the past few articles we looked into the effects of alcohol abuse in relation to initiating some cancers. Alcohol abuse has been linked to different cancers and this may be because of alcohol’s general effects on the body which includes the following;

Alcohol generates reactive oxygen species. These are chemically reactive molecules that contain oxygen which can damage DNA, proteins, and lipids through the process known as oxidation.

Alcohol also breaks down ethanol present in alcoholic drinks to acetaldehyde, which is a toxic chemical and a probable human carcinogen. This substance is toxic enough to damage both DNA and the genetic materials that make up the genes and this may cause mutation which causes cancer.

Alcohol also impairs the body’s own ability to metabolize and absorb a variety of nutrients that may be associated with a reduction in cancer risk, including vitamin A; nutrients in the vitamin B complex, such as folate; vitamin C; vitamin D; vitamin E; and carotenoids. Absence of these nutrients escalates the risk of cancer. It is also believed to increase the levels of estrogen hormone which is also associated with increased cancer risks.

Alcoholic drinks are also made up of very harmful contents which are mostly introduced during production. These may include nitrosamines, asbestos fibers, phenols, and hydrocarbons which may increase cancer risks.

Colorectal cancer

As the name suggests, colorectal cancer refers to cancers that affect the colon and the rectum. Colon cancer is cancer of the colon, which is at the lower part of the digestive system. On the other hand, rectal cancer is cancer of the rectum which is part of the last inches of the colon. Together these two cancers can be referred to as colorectal cancers. In the colon cancer may begin as small lumps that are non-cancerous clumps of cells known as adenomatous polyps, however these polyps will grow into cancerous cells. At the beginning these polyps will not show any symptom associated with cancer and this may even pose a greater health challenge, therefore it is important to have yourself screened regularly for colorectal cancer. There are several cancers of the colon and rectum but adenocarcinomas are the dominant cancer type constituting up to 95 percent of colorectal cancer but there are other rare types of tumors that are also equally dangerous.

Signs and symptoms of colon cancer

Just like any other disease there are indicators that you may be suffering from colorectal cancers. These signs and symptoms may include;

  • Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain
  • A feeling that your bowel doesn’t empty completely
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • A change in consistency of passing stool
  • Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool

These symptoms though unpleasant may help you to know your status in relation to colorectal cancers and help you seek treatment in good time. However these symptoms may not show at early stages making it hard for colorectal cancer to be detected early. It is therefore advisable to go for screening to help with early treatment. If you notice any symptoms of colon cancer, such as blood in your stool or a persistent change in bowel habits the best you can do is to seek medical help.

Alcohol linked to colorectal cancer

Excessive alcohol consumption has been regarded as a risk factor for developing colorectal adenomas. In a study aimed to investigate the influence of excessive alcohol consumption on the occurrence of colorectal cancer among patients with at least one colonic adenoma done by M Bardou, S Montembault, V Giraud, A Balian, E Borotto, C Houdayer, F Capron, J-C Chaput and S Naveau it was found that In patients with at least one colorectal adenoma, excessive alcohol consumption increases the likelihood of developing high risk adenomas or colorectal cancer. In this study the participants were divided into three groups. All had at least one colorectal adenoma. The first group consisted of 401 heavy drinkers; the second group consisted of 152 patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) while the third group consisted of 108 patients with a family history (FH) of colorectal adenoma or cancer. For this study exclusive criteria were anemia, haematochezia, personal history of colorectal adenoma or cancer, and for groups heavy drinking and IBS a family history of colorectal adenoma and/or cancer.

colorectal cancerThis is not the first study to show this relation between alcohol abuse and colorectal cancer. This relation between alcohol consumption and risk of developing colorectal adenomas has been demonstrated previously by several authors. In a research it was found that the risk of polyps was increased three times for drinkers who did not smoke and 12 times for both drinkers and smokers compared with the risk of total abstainers. Naveau et al found that alcoholism and cirrhosis were two independent risk factors for colorectal adenomatous polyps after successive adjustments for sex, age, smoking, and serum cholesterol levels.

Alcohol addiction is a vice that should be fought by all means that is why we at AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center are committed to availing help to addicts and offering them a place to call home. We offer NER Treatment and Amino acid therapy that are the most effective approaches to addiction treatment and recovery. You call on Dr. Dalal Akoury (MD) today and begin your journey to victory against addiction.

Alcohol Abuse and Colorectal Cancer