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Beer and cancer

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We already knew the relationship between beer and cancer but we thought it was something that only applied to heavy drinkers and it turns out that the risk still applies to light drinkers.

I’m using beer as an example because it is the most popular alcoholic beverage but in general, I will be referring to any type of alcoholic beverage.

Beer and cancer

We have long known that alcoholism can cause cancer, cognitive impairment, and even brain damage that is “irreversible”. What has not been clearly defined are the limits where the consumption of alcohol begins to have a negative effect on our health.

Although, if we consider the affirmation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) where they say “drinking alcohol is related to an increased chance of developing various types of cancer” then we can conclude that all types of alcohol consumption have a cancer risk even if it’s very minimal.

Each time you consume an alcoholic beverage you are increasing (minimally) your chance of having cancer in the oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus, larynx, liver and colorectal. In the case of women, there is a greater inclination to develop breast cancer.

Now I want to make a clarification because many consider that this is only possible in cases where the consumption of alcohol is moderate or excessive, but not when it is light.

It turns out that every time you consume alcohol you are increasing these probabilities so that the more frequent you consume alcohol then the probability will increase.

Therefore, if you consume alcohol occasionally you will get some risks, it’s just that those risks are small compared to cases of alcoholism.

We can divide alcohol consumers into three categories:

  1. Light consumer:

    Consume less than 12.5 grams of alcohol per day.
  2. Moderate consumer:
    Consume less than 50 grams of alcohol per day.
  3. Heavy consumer:
    Consumes more than 50 grams of alcohol per day.

To give context to those numbers you should know that there are 14 grams of alcohol in 12 ounces of beer (355ml) or 5 ounces of wine (147ml).

This association of the consumption of beer and cancer (or any other alcoholic beverage) was noticed more in cases of cancer that developed in the upper part of the digestive tract. For example, light consumers were 26% more likely to have esophageal cancer than those who did not consume alcohol.

The reason of this is because the first direct contact with alcohol is with the tissue of the mouth and esophagus.

Moderate consumers have twice the risk of cancer as those who do not consume alcohol, while excessive consumers have a 5 times higher risk.

In 2007, the International Agency for Cancer Research stated that alcohol is carcinogenic. They even affirmed that this is because when consuming alcohol, it produces a byproduct called acetaldehyde. This chemical can affect our DNA which can turn into cancer. In addition to this, alcohol can cause inflammation throughout the body, which also increases the risk of cancer.

This risks of beer and cancer apply also to wine and liquor.

In the investigations or reports that I reviewed there is no recommendation on the ideal amount of alcohol one person can consume. But it is clear that the more you consume the more your risk increases.

So my recommendation at least will be that you start to reduce the amount and frequency with which you consume alcohol.

And my ideal recommendation is that you do what the World Cancer Research Fund recommends and it is “to prevent cancer it is better not to drink alcohol”.

From my personal point of view, consuming alcohol is of no use for health, neither for your company, nor for your venture, nor for your life in general, so there is no good reason to do so.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t consume alcohol, because when I travel sometimes I like to taste some. In particular my favorite is Peruvian Pisco, that’s why it’s the only alcoholic drink I consume with Peruvian dishes but that’s something that I do when I travel to Peru or on a holiday which means I only consume it from 1 to 3 times a year (and it’s usually just a glass of Pisco with Peruvian food).

I don’t find any need to consume alcohol and that is why I recommend you to do the same.

Any new research I find on this topic I will be publishing them through social media as @lenusme or through the newsletter so [click here] get in.

Finally, don’t forget to stay healthy and to subscribe.

See you in the next post. Tschüss!


  • Drinking Even One Beer a Day Can Up Your Cancer Risk | Christa Sgobba | Men’s Health | 2017.11.09 | [Link]
  • Alcohol and Cancer: A Statement of the American Society of Clinical Oncology | DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2017.76.1155 Journal of Clinical Oncology 36, no. 1 (January 1 2018) 83-93 | [Link]
  • Alcohol consumption and site-specific cancer risk: a comprehensive dose–response meta-analysis | Br J Cancer. 2015 Feb 3; 112(3): 580–593 | [Link]
  • What Is A Standard Drink? | National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism | [Link]
  • Breast and Colorectal Cancers are Associated with Alcohol Consumption | International Agency for Research on Cancer | Press Release No.175 | 2017.03.28 | [Link]
  • Alcohol Linked to Cancer According to Major Oncology Organization: ASCO Cites Evidence and Calls for Reduced Alcohol Consumption | American Society of Clinical Oncology | 2017.11.07 | [Link]

Soy el presidente de Lenus y mi enfoque está en vivir una vida digna de vivirla por medio de tres pilares que son (1) Fortaleza Espiritual, (2) Desarrollo Empresarial y (3) Medicina Natural.

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