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Is Alcohol Inching You Close To Stomach Cancer?

posted on 6/16/2016 Facebook Facebook

Science has never condemned drinking as a problem unless one overdoes it. If you drink within the limits of your system, alcohol can far from be a problem. However, excessive and regular consumption of alcohol can not only conflict with your physical but also mental health. From creating troubles for your liver, kidneys, stomach and even brain, alcohol in exaggerated quantities can be toxic. But, can alcohol also give me stomach cancer? If you have been struggling to find a definitive answer to this question, we are here to help.

Alcohol & Stomach Cancer: Defining The Connection
Alcohol does irritate your digestive system and drinking even a little increases the production of stomach acid. This can not only cause heartburn, vomiting but also gastritis and bleeding. Did you know that alcohol can hamper your digestion and ability to absorb nutrients? Yes, too much alcohol can decrease the levels of digestive enzymes produced by the pancreas and make your digestion weak. This can result in the build-up of toxins in the stomach and increase your risk of gastric cancer.

While the one of the main risk factor for stomach cancer is H. pylori infection (a bug that is known to cause stomach ulcers), a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition defined a concrete association between increased consumption of alcohol and gastric cancer. The study found that men who drank more than four drinks a day were at a 75 percent higher risk of stomach cancer than light drinkers.

Another finding of the study was that people carrying two copies of rs1230025, a gene variant located amid a cluster of genes associated with degrading alcohol in the body are also at a higher risk for stomach cancer.

One more interesting observation highlighted in the study was that this increase in the risk was more associated with beer compared to wine or other spirits. Researchers concluded that if alcohol did actually increase the risk of developing stomach cancer then it could be due to one of the metabolic by-products of alcohol—acetaldehyde, which is a known human carcinogen (a substance which causes cancer).

A combination of these factors along with unhealthy lifestyle habits such as eating more of red, processed meats, smoking heavily and diet low in fiber can all pool in to increase stomach cancer risk. Remember the old saying, “A little goes a long way”? Well, we suggest incorporating the same when it comes to drinking alcohol. It’s best enjoyed and not abused.


  1. D''Avanzo B, La Vecchia C, Franceschi S. Alcohol consumption and the risk of gastric cancer. Nutr Cancer. 1994;22(1):57-64. PubMed PMID: 11304910.

  2. Duell EJ, Travier N, Lujan-Barroso L, Clavel-Chapelon F, Boutron-Ruault MC, Morois S, Palli D, Krogh V, Panico S, Tumino R, Sacerdote C, Quirós JR, Sánchez-Cantalejo E, Navarro C, Gurrea AB, Dorronsoro M, Khaw KT, Allen NE, Key TJ, Bueno-de-Mesquita HB, Ros MM, Numans ME, Peeters PH, Trichopoulou A, Naska A,Dilis V, Teucher B, Kaaks R, Boeing H, Schütze M, Regner S, Lindkvist B,Johansson I, Hallmans G, Overvad K, Egeberg R, Tjønneland A, Lund E, Weiderpass E, Braaten T, Romieu I, Ferrari P, Jenab M, Stenling R, Aune D, Norat T, Riboli E, González CA. Alcohol consumption and gastric cancer risk in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Nov;94(5):1266-75. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.012351. Epub 2011 Oct 12.PubMed PMID: 21993435.

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