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All The News That’s Fit: Alcohol’s cancer link, the risk of a kiss and German measles

Now that Dry January is over, most participants who were “sober-curious” have resumed their familiar consumption patterns, no doubt feeling good about giving their bodies a break from the known risks and harms of alcohol.

Most folks, however, underappreciate the increased risk of several types of cancer caused by alcohol consumption. “All types of alcoholic beverages, including wine, increase cancer risk,” said Andrew Seidenberg, a National Cancer Institute researcher who recently led a study on alcohol-cancer awareness that found, unfortunately, not much awareness.

How does alcohol cause cancer? It contains ethanol, a known carcinogen, which can cause cancer in several ways, such as increasing estrogen levels, which boosts the risk of breast cancer, or breaking down into compounds that damage DNA and cause liver, head and neck and esophageal cancers.

Seidenberg said public awareness campaigns similar to those in the past for smoking are needed. While 9 in 10 Americans are aware of the cancer risk associated with tobacco, only 1 in 3 is aware of the alcohol-cancer connection.

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