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Quit drinking for less colon cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer, esophagus cancer…

Updated on August 8, 2008

Quitting drinking greatly lowers the risks for cancer

The links between cancer and excessive alcohol consumption have been well known for some time, but with every passing quarter, cancer researchers are revealing yet another type of cancer influenced by levels of alcohol consumption.

Just last week Canadian researchers revealed that drinking has been clinically and causally lined to increased rates of esophagus, larynx and oral cavity cancers, and that the risks for those cancers decline substantially as people quit drinking, and very much like smoking, the risk equals the rates for non drinkers two or three decades after achieving abstinence.

Don’t leave it until too late

Researchers explain that cancer rates actually go up dramatically in the year or so after an alcoholic or alcohol abuser quits drinking, but decline progressively after that, and ultimately the risks equal those of non drinkers. The reason that the first couple of years are a period of increased cancer incidences is that far too many people don’t stop until already starting to feel the symptoms of those cancers. The message is pretty clear…don’t leave it until it’s too late.

Well publicized benefits of a glass or two of wine a day for the heart may be offset by increased risks for cancer with even moderate rates of drinking, and even a couple of drinks a day increases yourcolon cancer risk by nearly 25%.

Alcoholics need worry

But moderate drinkers don’t likely have significant cause for concern, its people drinking heavily, people abusing alcohol, and alcoholics that need to be particularly concerned about these future health risks.

Women alcoholics are at particular risk to the negative health effects of drinking, and their breast cancer risk is 150% that of non or moderate drinking women.

The health and social costs of heavy drinking are enormous, and in addition to an increased risk for a legion of different cancers, alcoholics face cirrhosis, cognitive deficits, memory loss, early dementia, nutritional deficit's and even heart disease and heart failure. The good news is that much of these risks are eliminated with increasing years of sobriety, and even the heaviest drinkers today can virtually eliminate most of these health deficits after a long period of sobriety.

Much like smoking, if you can manage to quit and keep it up, after long enough time, it's almost as if you had never done it In the first place.

Get help if you need it

The risks of alcohol abuse and alcoholism are many, and if you are drinking at an unsafe level you need to take steps to better your problem, and initiate professional therapy if needed. But there is cause for optimism, and even the worst of us can expect a future of far better health if we can just stay off the booze.

Good luck.


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    • profile image

      Help With your addictions 4 years ago

      Quitting drinking in excess lowers many different risks.

    • profile image

      Shane Wright 10 years ago

      Thanks for you insight!

    • recovering addict profile image

      recovering addict 10 years ago


      I do not disagree with you!

      There has been much well publicized research into the potential benefits of moderate alochol consumption, and I would not obviously dispute research that has shown a heart health benefit etc.

      I don't know where the line is, and it's a tough one too. We seem to be told conflicting things about what we should eat or drink for our good health, and alcohol seems to yet another of these confounding substances. It does seem to have some benefits, in moderation, but other research, such as that on colorectal cancer, suggests that even regular and moderate intake has negative implications.

      So what's the answer? I don't know.

      But in general, those people who drink with real moderation seem unliikely to suffer much for their use, and if alcohol brings them any pleasure, sure why not keep on using it. There are of course many people who drink at a level above moderate use, and for these people, alcohol does pose a significant threat to health and happiness.

      I am not against drinking, in general. I am for informed use, and for controlled use.

      If you visit the British Medical Journal, ( you can find a great deal of research on this, and other alcohol related topics.

      Thanks for the comment.

    • profile image

      Shane Wright 10 years ago

      Ok, first of all let me say this, i really appreciate your trying to help people through your blog! However i feel that you might have a little chip on your shoulder against any and all alcohol so lets just clarify..... are you stating that any alcohol is bad for you? because the last study i heard about ( granted it was on the news and i did not investigate for myself) said that two drinks a day and no more than three drinks a day could help prevent bladder, kidney, and testicular cancer. please share your insight with us on this subject. Also if you could please put up a link or direct me to a specific study where you got your information from please. Thank you very much.