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- Cancer is a result of DNA damage in the body, and it can be prompted by uncontrollable genetic factors.
- But there are some things we can do to reduce the risk of developing cancer.
- There is a lot of compelling evidence that drinking alcohol can cause cancer. The same goes for sugary drinks.
- Slurping piping hot beverages is also a bad thing to do to your esophagus, and for some people, could increase cancer risk a bit. Cancer claims about coffee are more suspect.
Some cancers are unavoidable and determined by genetics. But the truth is there are some behaviors we can control that impact cancer risk. Breathing dirty air (whether from cigarette smoke or air pollution), eating (or not eating) certain foods, and being around certain products and chemicals every day can each contribute to how, when, and if people get cancer.
Even your choices about what you drink every day can have some influence on cancer risk.
Here are some of the drinks that science suggests are leading to more cancer cases, and even deaths.
We have a lot of evidence that drinking alcohol contributes to more cancer cases.
Call it liquor, alcohol, or booze, but this substance’s scientific name is ethyl alcohol. It’s a chemical typically made from fermenting sugars (like those from grapes) or starches (such as potatoes or rice) with yeast.
Part of the reason alcohol is dangerous is that it irritates tissues, making it easier for carcinogens (cancer-causing compounds) to sneak in and cause DNA damage in the body.
Scientists have shown time and time again that drinking alcohol can contribute to several different kinds of cancer in humans. The dose is important too; the more you drink, the greater your risk of developing different kinds of cancers, including head, neck, throat, liver, breast, and colon.
A worldwide study of drinkers in 195 countries published in 2018 found that no matter where people live, heavier drinkers are more likely to develop cancer, and they’re also more likely to die from cancer and many other causes.
Plenty of people live to a ripe old age while drinking alcohol regularly. But that doesn’t mean the behavior is risk-free.
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In England, 92 year old Queen Elizabeth II reportedly enjoys wine with her lunch and sips champagne before bed on a regular basis. Across the Atlantic in Pennsylvania, 101 year old Andrew Slavonic says downing a can of Coors Light every afternoon has been his golden ticket to living past 100.
There is some evidence a moderate amount of booze (say, one drink per day) can help protect against some health conditions, notably heart disease and diabetes. But there are underlying genetic differences that make some people more likely to develop deadly diseases, while others don’t.
In France, where people drink on average 2.7 glasses of alcohol a day, alcohol kills roughly 49,000 people every year. Health officials in the wine-loving country are now encouraging French people to drink less.
Alcohol is alcohol, and it’s not great for our bodies in big doses, whether it’s a big glass of Côtes du Rhône, a snifter filled with Cognac, or bottles of Corona.
Sugar-filled drinks can also be dangerous. Not only is sugar linked to more cancer cases, there’s also some evidence it can help fuel tumors to grow faster and more aggressively.
A recent 34-year study of more than 118,000 men and women across the US suggested that people who drink more sugar-sweetened beverages are more likely to die from all sorts of things, including breast and colon cancer.
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