Only 10% of people know alcohol can cause cancer, a new survey has shown.
The Alcohol Health Alliance UK (AHA) looked into public attitudes towards alcohol and found very few people knew of the damage alcohol can cause the body.
Drinking booze can damage the liver, cause pancreatitis (inflammation in the pancreas) and increase the risk of developing seven different types of cancer, according to Cancer Research UK.
In fact, alcohol contributes to over 12,000 cancer cases in the UK each year, according to the charity’s expert on cancer prevention Professor Linda Bauld.
Scientists recently discovered that drinking alcohol damages the DNA blueprint in stem cells, which might be what causes cancer.
They gave ethanol to mice and analysed their chromosomes before and after. The analysis revealed acetaldehyde, a harmful chemical produced when the body processes alcohol, changed the animals’ DNA sequencing.
Acetaldehyde was able to break and damage the DNA leading to permanent rearrangement of chromosomes. This is important because such faulty cells give rise to cancer.
The research also suggested that some groups of people might be more vulnerable to this cellular-level damage than others.
More than three million Brits will be taking part in Dry January 2018, which involves giving up alcohol for a month. Other benefits of going booze-free include boosting mental health, improving heart health, aiding liver recovery and (eventually) helping you sleep better at night.