Drinking Alcohol Daily May Lead to Skin Cancer, Suggests Study

Alcohol has long been associated with long term ailments and in some cases cancer. According to a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology, drinking just one glass of beer or wine every day could cause skin cancer.

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Drinking Alcohol Daily May Lead to Skin Cancer, Suggests Study

Highlights

  1. Alcohol has long been associated with long term ailments
  2. Drinking just one glass of alcohol every day could cause skin cancer
  3. The study defined a standard drink as 10 ml of alcohol
Alcohol has long been associated with long term ailments and in some cases cancer. According to a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology, drinking just one glass of beer or wine every day could cause skin cancer. The researchers claim that the chemicals released when alcohol is broken down by the body are to be blamed. Dermatologist Dr Eunyoung Cho of Brown University, Rhode Island, said: "Given the high prevalence of skin cancer and alcohol drinking, modifying alcohol behaviour may be a realistic intervention goal that can help substantially reduce the global non-melanoma skin cancer burden. This is an important finding given there are few ways to prevent skin cancer."

The reason suggested by the researchers is that the ethanol in alcohol can metabolise into acetaldehyde, a compound that can damage DNA. Dr Cho said: "In general, ethanol metabolism plays a major role in alcohol carcinogenesis. Ethanol is metabolised by alcohol dehydrogenase to acetaldehyde, a carcinogen which can inhibit the DNA repair system. Ethanol metabolism also results in the production of reactive oxygen species, which cause DNA damage and contribute to mutations."

The study defined a standard drink as 10 ml of alcohol, about a small glass of wine, or half a pint of beer. Every glass that you drink increases the risk of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma by 11 percent and basal cell carcinoma by 7 percent.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK and rates are rising. Around 3.6 percent cancer cases across the world have been attributed to alcohol including those of the liver, bowel, breast and pancreas.

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