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Double Trouble – Tobacco And Alcohol Combine To Elevate Cancer Risk

Double Trouble – Tobacco And Alcohol Combine To Elevate Cancer Risk

Tobacco and alcohol are considered the leading causes of cancer in humans. While there has been immense debate regarding the ill effects of both, it is time to delve deeper into understanding how the combination can elevate the risk of cancer.

Double Trouble – Tobacco And Alcohol Combine To Elevate Cancer Risk

Also Read: Understanding Oral Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Where do consumers most commonly find tobacco?

Consumers mostly frequently find tobacco in cigars and cigarettes. They are made of a combination of flavours and dried tobacco leaves. When you smoke the same, the smoke you release is a combination of several chemicals and compounds. It is precisely where the problem begins. According to scientific research and data, cigarette smoke has more than 70 carcinogenic chemicals. Consequently, the consumer is likely to suffer from heart and lung cancer, amongst all types of cancers.

How do users get addicted to tobacco?

You must have often heard that tobacco addiction leads to cancer. But, have you wondered what is it that leads to this addiction? Tobacco smoke contains several poisonous gases such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide. Additionally, it has tar and nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive drug that is the harshest chemical in the entire smoking process. The radioactive substances in tobacco get stored in the human lungs over a while. Thus, there is a high chance that a regular smoker is more susceptible to lung cancer.

Does smoking cause cancer?

Yes, smoking is believed to be the leading cause of lung cancer in men and women. While the rate is 87% in the case of males, it is 70% in the case of females. But, you are highly mistaken if you think that this is where the suffering ends. Smoking is also the leading cause of several other types of cancers, such as lip, mouth, nasal cavity, swallowing tube, voice box, and more. Studies show close links between tobacco and other types of diseases such as kidney, stomach, and ovary cancer. In a nutshell, it is essential to give up tobacco completely.

Is tobacco indeed so harsh on the body?

Tobacco is not only the leading cause of cancer, but it also plays a significant role in affecting your body's immune system which is unable to fight the cancer cells. Moreover, it affects the DNA construction of the body's cells. So, the cells fail to regulate themselves, and damaged DNA leads to the growth of cancerous tumours.

Every year, more than 7,300 people die of lung cancer caused by passive smoking. It means that you do not need to smoke yourself to develop lung cancer. Inhaling tobacco smoke from another source can also affect you. Thus, you must abstain from smoking and motivate others around you to do the same.

What are the other ill effects of smoking?

Smoking can also lead to problems such as stroke, loss of proper respiratory functions, infections, and heart problems. These ailments are among the top causes of early death in humans.

Double Trouble – Tobacco And Alcohol Combine To Elevate Cancer Risk

Now, continue reading ahead to know how alcohol leads to increasing the chances of cancer.

Also Read: Ayurveda and Oral Cancer: Embracing Holistic Healing

Does alcohol cause any cancer?

Yes, similar to tobacco, alcohol is also a cause of cancer. Some of the most common types of cancer caused by the consumption of alcohol are cancers in the mouth, breast, liver, bowel, and voice box. In all, it causes more than 7 types of cancer that need immediate cancer treatment.

How exactly does alcohol cause cancer?

There are special blood stem cells found in the blood and bone marrow. They are essentially immature blood cells that can later grow into white blood cells, red blood cells, or platelets. But, alcohol damages these cells before they can develop into anything. And this is what leads to cancer.

When consumed, alcohol is broken down in the gut where the body bacteria actively converts it into enormous amounts of acetaldehyde. For the unknown, acetaldehyde is a chemical that holds a record of showing cancer in animals. Thus, after a lot of research and examination, best cancer hospitals concluded that it could damage and affect stem cell DNA. The DNA may get rearranged or permanently damaged. Either way, the cell loses its validity and power to function normally.

Finally, unregulated cells grow and multiply abnormally, leading to cancer cells.

Does the body have any defence mechanism to protect itself from cancer caused by alcohol?

Yes, the body has innumerable defence mechanisms to protect itself. Of these, the most well-known mechanism is the use of enzymes known as ALDHs. These enzymes try to break the Alcohol into acetate and use it to release energy in the human body. However, the body may not always be successful in this endeavour. Thus, repeated failure of secondary defence mechanisms leads to cancer.

What happens to the body when you combine Alcohol and tobacco?

Now that you know the individual effects of Tobacco and alcohol, wonder about the dual effects of both. Such a combination can have deadly effects on the body, and cancer may spread from one part of the body to another. Thus, abstinence is the key to living healthy.

Combining alcohol and tobacco can have significant implications for the body, as the interaction between these substances can result in various health risks and adverse effects. Understanding how alcohol and tobacco interact and impact the body is crucial for promoting informed decision-making. In this comprehensive overview, we delve into the consequences of combining alcohol and tobacco, shedding light on the potential risks and their impact on overall health.

  1. Synergistic Health Risks: Amplifying the Negative Effects When alcohol and tobacco are used together, they can synergistically increase the health risks associated with each substance individually. Explore how the combined use of alcohol and tobacco intensifies their negative impact on different organs and systems of the body.
  2. Increased Risk of Cancer: A Dangerous Combination Both alcohol and tobacco independently pose a significant risk for developing various types of cancer. However, when used together, the risk escalates further. Discover how the combination of alcohol and tobacco contributes to a higher susceptibility to cancer, including those affecting the lungs, throat, mouth, oesophagus, and more.
  3. Impaired Cardiovascular Health: Heightened Vulnerability Alcohol and tobacco can independently lead to cardiovascular issues, but their combined use can severely compromise heart health. Uncover the mechanisms by which alcohol and tobacco interact to increase the risk of conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular complications.
  4. Liver Damage: A Dual Assault Both alcohol and tobacco exert detrimental effects on the liver, and their simultaneous use can exacerbate liver damage. Delve into the details of how alcohol and tobacco interact to impair liver function, leading to conditions like fatty liver disease, hepatitis, and cirrhosis.
  5. Respiratory Problems: Compromised Lung Function Combining alcohol and tobacco can have a detrimental impact on respiratory health, significantly impairing lung function. Explore how the interaction between these substances contributes to respiratory problems such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchitis, and increased vulnerability to infections.

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Reference: 

  1. Pelucchi C, Gallus S, Garavello W, Bosetti C, La Vecchia C. Cancer risk associated with alcohol and tobacco use: focus on upper aero-digestive tract and liver. Alcohol Res Health. 2006;29(3):193-8. PMID: 17373408; PMCID: PMC6527045.
     
  2. Hagger-Johnson G, Sabia S, Brunner EJ, Shipley M, Bobak M, Marmot M, Kivimaki M, Singh-Manoux A. Combined impact of smoking and heavy alcohol use on cognitive decline in early old age: Whitehall II prospective cohort study. Br J Psychiatry. 2013 Aug;203(2):120-5. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.112.122960. Epub 2013 Jul 11. PMID: 23846998; PMCID: PMC3730115.
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