Alcohol Consumption Increases Risk of Oral Cancer for Men

According to a recent study in the American Journal of Public Health, alcohol consumption causes approximately 20,000 cancer deaths in the U.S. each year, especially oral cancer in men. Cancers of the mouth, esophagus and throat were commonly alcohol-related and the cause of death for men, resulting in about 6,000 total deaths annually.

It has become apparent over the years that excessive or even simply consistent alcohol consumption will increase the risk of cancer, specifically the risk of oral cancer. The American Cancer Society states “Oral cancers are six times more common in alcohol users than in non-alcohol users. About 75% to 80% of all patients with oral cancer consume alcohol frequently. Smokers who also drink are at a much higher risk.” Generally, this research concludes that men who have two drinks a day and women who have one drink a day show a higher risk of cancer.

This extensive study concluded that cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx, larynx and esophagus accounted for 53% to 71% of alcohol-related deaths among men. Even moderate drinks accounted for 48% to 60% of alcohol-caused cancer deaths. Researchers concluded there is no apparent threshold when it comes to alcohol and cancer risk, but it is better to drink alcohol at low levels or not at all for prevention purposes.

Men and women alike- If you have a habit of having a drink on a daily basis, consider reducing your consumption. Even if you consider your drinking to be moderate, consider the long term effects of your alcohol consumption and reduce your risk of oral cancer.

Be sure you’re seeing your dentist regularly and that you report any concerns. For any questions or more information, Dr. Wagner is available to evaluate any abnormal tissues. 


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