We all know of the risks of heavy drinking, and it seems as though with every passing week researchers are finding yet more evidence of the damage done by heavy drinking.
Alcoholics are at risk for cirrhosis, for cognitive declines, for early dementia malnutrition, hepatitis of the liver, heart disease and of course for a host of cancers. Adding to the list of known alcohol related cancers, Canadian researchers last week added cancers of the larynx, esophagus and oral cavity to an already long list of alcohol influenced cancers.
If you drink heavily you are not likely to live as long, and you are very much more likely to get cancer.
But it’s not all doom and gloom, and as a real positive note the same researchers who announced the new alcohol related cancers also revealed that for those people that can quit drinking, their risk for cancer slowly declines, and after 2 or 3 decades, the cancer risk is no more elevated than for those people who never drank to excess.
Very much like smoking, if you can quit drinking at a young enough age, you can spare yourself from a host of health problems.
When researchers examined the cancer rates of people who had quit drinking, they noted that after a few years, the cancer risks started a long steady decline, but for the first year or so, people who quit drinking actually had a greatly increased rate of cancer. Which seems confusing at first, until researchers explain that far too many people never do quit until already feeling the early and painful symptoms of cancer; and this fact is reflected in elevated early year cancer rates for newly abstinent patients.
The message is of course clear; don?t wait until drinking causes you physical pain before seeking help.
Women are at particular risk to the chronic effects of heavy alcohol consumption, and in addition to suffering greater rates of cirrhosis, heart disease and mental declines, they also show an almost 50% increased risk of breast cancer.
Just like smoking, if you drink heavily, you should stop, and if you can’t you should get professional help. Life is far too short to squander your available years on this earth suffering through the pains of addiction, and ultimately reducing your life span with painful and fatal diseases. There are great treatments available to all who commit to change and to sobriety.