Alcohol and Throat Cancer
It is no secret that too much alcohol is unhealthy. Everyone knows that over indulgence can cause issues like heart problems, weight gain, hormonal imbalances and depression. Alcohol consumption is also linked to an increased risk of many different types of cancers, including throat cancer.
Throat cancer can be grouped into two main categories, pharyngeal cancer and laryngeal cancer. Pharyngeal cancer occurs in the hollow tube that runs behind the nose to the top of the windpipe known as the pharynx. Laryngeal cancer occurs in the larynx which is also known as the voice box.
Throat cancers are relatively uncommon when compared to other types of cancers. The National Cancer institute estimates that only 1.1 percent of adults will be diagnosed with pharyngeal cancer within their lifetime and 0.3 percent of adults will be diagnosed with laryngeal cancer within their lifetime.
Symptoms of throat cancer can include coughing, dysphagia, changes in the voice, sore throat, unexplainable weight loss, swelling of the neck and face, and bleeding from the mouth or face.
Alcohol, Tobacco and Cancer Risks
Though scientists and doctors can’t attribute every case of throat cancer to alcohol and tobacco, they are a big risk factor for throat cancer especially when the two are used together. Alcohol use seems to raise the risk of throat cancer much less than tobacco users but the people who used both together have the highest risk factors for throat cancer out of all three categories of substance users.
Alcohol and Vitamin deficiencies
Heavy drinkers and chronic alcoholics tend to have vitamin deficiencies for one or more vitamins and minerals, specifically B-vitamins, such as vitamin B-1 and B-12 as well as folic acid and zinc. This is because not only is alcohol heavy on the calories, while also being devoid of any nutrients, but it also prevents absorption of other nutrients into the body from other foods that you have eaten.
Scientific research has shown that vitamin deficiencies, including deficiencies in B-vitamins, can increase your risk of many different types of cancers including throat cancer. This is because B-vitamins (as well as folic acid) play a role in synthesizing DNA. A healthy amount of folic acid and Vitamin B-12 keeps your DNA healthy and rejuvenated. Deficiencies in these essential micro nutrients can have a huge risk because without them DNA synthesis doesn’t happen at a healthy rate in the body, causing DNA to break down. When this occurs for a long enough time period, mutations in the DNA can occur, followed by cancer.
How to reduce chances of throat cancer?
If you want to reduce your chances of throat cancer, it isn’t necessary that you quit alcohol completely but it will be better for you to keep your drinking to a healthy minimum. It would be prudent, however, to cease all tobacco use because occurrences of throat cancer are highest among smokers. It is most important to stop using alcohol and tobacco simultaneously because those who do so are at risk to the greatest number of head and neck cancers.
Nutrition can also play a role. Eating foods with a good supply of Vitamin B12 and folic acid such as eggs, lamb, and beef will keep your DNA healthy and free from mutations. If you are a drinker, it may be best to compliment your diet with vitamin supplements as alcohol can lower nutrient absorption in the body.
Mr. Alston started his legal career as a prosecutor with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. During his 8 years as an Assistant District Attorney, he was trained by some of the best prosecutors in the country. Mr. Alston has prosecuted thousands of misdemeanor and felony cases including: