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Alcohol causes colorectal cancer

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By David Liu, PHD

Tuesday Feb 19, 2013 (foodconsumer.org) -- Alcohol consumption can increase risk of colorectal cancer, according to a review recently released in Current Nutrition Reports.

Alcoholic beverages are recognized human carcinogens by both the U.S. National Toxicology Program and The International Agency for Research on Cancer.  Some readers may have already known that drinking alcohol increases risk of developing breast cancer and dying from the disease.  But breast cancer is not the only malignancy alcohol can induce.

Manami Inoue, the author of the review says that the evidence that alcohol intake is associated with colorectal cancer risk is convincing although it remains largely unknown how alcohol can cause colorectal cancer.

Inoue says "Genetic polymorphisms, such as aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) and 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR), also are suggested to influence the effect of alcohol on colorectal carcinogenesis."

The author suggests that although it remains unknown how alcohol affects the risk of colorectal cancer risk, the avoidance of  excess intake of this carcinogen can substantially reduce risk and burden of colorectal cancer induced by alcohol consumption.

Other recent studies have shown that there is no safe threshold for alcohol consumption, meaning that drinking any amount of alcohol can increase risk of cancer.   It is just that a higher intake leads to a higher risk.   Those who are vulnerable should by all means avoid drinking alcohol.

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