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The big C - Cancer

Updated: Mar 30

This week, we’ve been waiting for some test results, and this has brought a lot of anxiety in our family. At the moment of writing these lines, we are still crossing all our limbs to receive good news.

 

Cancer has landed in our family life six years ago. My partner was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma when I was pregnant with our now 5 years old son. After 6 months of harsh chemo, he was and still is in remission.

 

For me, the word cancer is very triggering, it’s a word heavy in stories, in images, and in grief as I lost my mom to brain cancer when my son was 1.

 

The reason why I bring up cancer today is not only because this is on my worried mind now, but also because of the extremely close link between alcohol and cancer.



 

Alcohol and cancer

The first time I heard about alcohol possibly causing cancer was when I had this lump in my breast and the GP informed me about it. My son was an infant which means that I didn’t have a clue about it for decades and drank alcohol at any celebratory occasion or just to take the edge off a long day.

 

Alcohol has been classified as a Group 1 carcinogen along with asbestos, radiation, and tobacco. Group 1 is the highest risk group. The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that no level of alcohol consumption is safe for our health. Nothing, no alcohol, not a drink a day, not a drink occasionally, no alcohol at all is safe for our health.


Alcohol causes oral cavity cancer (mouth), pharyngeal and laryngeal cancer (throat), oesophageal cancer, colorectal cancer (bowel), liver cancer and female breast cancer. There is also limited evidence that it also causes pancreas cancer. For more info: https://www.canceraustralia.gov.au/resources/position-statements/lifestyle-risk-factors-and-primary-prevention-cancer/lifestyle-risk-factors/alcohol


If you want to know more about how alcohol is metabolised, you’ll find more information about it in my previous blog post ‘What alcohol does to my body and brain?’ inspired and summarising very briefly the podcast episode 86 by Huberman Lab.


Of course, alcohol isn’t only damaging our bodies by causing cancer, the liver is greatly impacted by the alcohol consumption, the immune system, the cardiovascular system. There are many accessible resources to learn more about how alcohol impacts our body, and I just came across this video by Armando Hasudungan about how alcohol impacts the liver physiologically.




And finally if you'd like more stats about how alcohol impacts our bodies and is linked to cancer, I encourage you to listen to Sober Awkward podcast 'The alarming link between alcohol and cancer'.


If you feel the need to talk to someone about your relationship with alcohol, feel free to contact me and ask for a free inquiry to determine if the alcohol addiction counselling services we provide could suit you.



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