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Drinking This Increases Your Skin Cancer Risk by 55%!

By on February 4, 2014
It all seems so harmless–sipping on a margarita after a busy work day.

But doing so now may put you at risk for a surprising new disease, according to researchers.

The disease? Skin cancer.

“We know that in the presence of UV radiation, drinking alcohol can alter the body’s ability to produce a normal immune response,” says Dr. Eva Negri, co-author of a new study published in the British Journal of Dermatology. “This can lead to far greater cellular damage and subsequently cause skin cancers to form. This study aimed to quantify the extent to which the melanoma risk is increased with alcohol intake, and we hope that armed with this knowledge people can better protect themselves in the sun.”

To reach this conclusion, Negri and several other scientists from Sweden and Italy looked at 16 studies involving more than 6,200 people diagnosed with melanoma, one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer. Negri then looked at how these incidences compared with the rate of alcohol consumption in their prospective countries, and found something alarming–the more people drank, the higher their skin cancer risk.

For those who drank more than a pint of alcohol per day, Negri found they faced a 20 percent higher risk of melanoma. But it fared even worse for those who admitted drinking more than four glasses per day–they faced a 55 percent higher risk.

Professor Christ Bunker, President of the British Association of Dermatologists, says these findings should heighten the need for people to be more prudent with their drinking habits.

“Brits haven’t always been known for their moderation when it comes to either alcohol
or the sun, but this research is important as it provides people with further information to make informed choices about their health,” says Bunker. “It is not uncommon to have a few drinks whilst on holiday or at a barbeque, we would just encourage people to be careful and make sure they are protecting their skin, this research provides an extra incentive to do so.”

In addition, Deputy Chief Executive of Alcohol Concern Emily Robinson says this provides even more proof that overdoing your alcohol intake is always a bad idea–even if you practice healthy eating or exercise habits. Other experts also agree, recommending that people take more caution when they decide to indulge in alcohol over the holidays.

But one expert disagrees with these findings, surprisingly enough–Cancer Research UK health infomercial officer Sarah Williams.

“This study doesn’t tell us for sure whether alcohol is a risk factor for melanoma,” says Williams. “Research has clearly shown that most cases of melanoma are caused by overexposure to UV rays–you can reduce the risk by avoiding sunburn.”

Regardless of the reasons why alcohol may raise a person’s skin cancer risk, all experts agree on one thing: It’s a good idea to curtail your alcohol intake. For a better way to relax, sipping on an organic smoothie or non-alcoholic beverage is probably a better way to celebrate the holidays.

Readers: How much alcohol do you drink on a regular basis?

Sources:
Regular Boozing Raises Cancer Risk by 55 Percent – DailyMail.co.uk
Drinking Too Much Raises Risk of Skin Cancer (Study) – Telegraph.co.uk

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