Alcohol raising cancer risks

The surprising link between alcohol and melanoma

Candis health editor, Karen Evennett shares the latest health update…


Regular drinkers could be raising their risk of malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by up to 55 per cent, say a team of researchers from Italy, Sweden, USA, France and Iran. The researchers explain that ethanol from alcohol is converted to a chemical compound called acetaldehyde soon after it is ingested – and this may act as a ‘photosensitiser’ (making skin more sensitive to light), which in turn generates molecules called ‘reactive oxygen species’ that damage cells (known as ‘oxidative stress’) in a way that can cause skin cancers. Alcohol consumption is one of the most important – and potentially avoidable – risk factors for cancer and causes about 3.6 per cent of all cancers (5.2 per cent in men, 1.7 per cent in women) worldwide.

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