Article By: CHANEL GEORGINA - READ ORIGINAL ARTICLE
BOWEL cancer has a "clear link" with drinking alcohol, said experts at DrinkAware. Recognising the symptoms early enough can lead to a full recovery, so it's important to check out the consistency of your poo.
One of the most common – and early – signs of bowel cancer is the change in bowel habits. "Looser" faeces (i.e. poo) could be indicative of the deadly disease. It could, however, also be a sign of alcohol irritation. Alcohol is an irritant for the digestive system, causing the stomach to produce more acid than usual. This excess of acid production can turn into gastritis – the inflammation the stomach lining.
Gastritis can trigger diarrhoea – one of the most common signs of bowel cancer – and other cancer-like symptoms.
For instance, an inflamed stomach lining can lead to stomach pain and bleeding.
People who consume alcohol daily may find it difficult to differentiate between diarrhoea caused by drinking alcohol and it being a sign of bowel cancer.
DrinkAware points out that another telling sign of bowel cancer is whether there is blood in the faeces.
In addition, any stomach pain that is felt more after eating is worth getting a doctor's opinion.
Bowel cancer can lead to anaemia, which can result in fatigue and looking pale.
"If you notice any of the above symptoms, don’t panic, but make an appointment to see your GP straight away," said DrinkAware.
If caught early enough, more than 90n percent of people will survive bowel cancer for five years or more.
Reduce your risk of bowel cancer today
Considering mounting evidence demonstrating a link between alcohol consumption and bowel cancer, the best thing you can do is to cut down (or not to drink at all).
Where's the evidence?
Cancer Research UK put bluntly: "If you drink alcohol, you are more likely to get cancer than if you don’t.
"Even a small amount of alcohol can increase your risk, so the more you can cut down the more you can reduce your risk."
There are three ways alcohol can cause cancer:
Damage to the cells
Changes to hormones
Changes to cells in the mouth and throat
Upon the consumption of alcohol, the body turns it into the chemical acetaldehyde.
Acetaldehyde can cause damage to the cells and stops cells from repairing.
Alcohol intake can also increase the levels of oestrogen and insulin, causing them to divide more than necessary, which raises the risk of a cancerous tumour developing.
Drinking alcohol can also make the cells in the mouth and throat more likely to absorb harmful chemicals, such as toxins from cigarette smoke.
"It doesn’t matter whether you drink beer, wine or spirits. All types of alcoholic drink can cause cancer," emphasised Cancer Research UK.
Alcohol consumption not only increases a person's risk of bowel cancer, it also heightens a person's chance of developing:
"Drinking alcohol increases the risk of cancer whether you drink it all in one go or spread it throughout the week," warned the charity.
If you are in the UK and would like support to help curb your drinking habits, you can contact Drinkline on 0300 123 1110 or have a chat online.