Home Health Cancer: Does Substance Abuse Increase the Risk?

Cancer: Does Substance Abuse Increase the Risk?


Substance abuse has many effects on the body, so if you’re struggling with an addiction, here’s everything you need to know about keeping yourself safe and healthy.

Tobacco Addiction

Tobacco addiction is extremely common, and it’s also the No. 1 cause of preventable deaths. Tobacco addiction is difficult to beat because of how addictive nicotine is. Nicotine, the substance in cigarettes, causes an increase in adrenaline and dopamine, which means smokers feel good when they have a cigarette. Your brain becomes addicted to this feeling and causes you to continue to smoke. Despite wanting to quit, many smokers have trouble giving it up. For those who smoke cigarettes, the risk of getting cancer is higher. Thirty percent of cancer deaths are due to tobacco use, and smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths in both men (87 percent) and women (70 percent). The chemicals in cigarettes are known to cause cancer, making it dangerous to smoke even if you only do so occasionally. Avoid having to go through cancer treatment by quitting smoking as soon as possible. Smokers are 15 to 30 times more likely to get lung cancer than non-smokers. Keep yourself healthy and avoid developing a tobacco addiction.

Alcohol Addiction

Alcoholism has been proven to lead to cancer, and the more alcohol you consume, the higher your risks. About 3.5 percent of cancer deaths are alcohol-related. Drinking alcohol consistently over time can lead to head and neck cancers, esophageal cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer, and colorectal cancer. Heavy alcohol consumption doubles your cancers of getting liver cancer, and studies have shown that there could be a link between alcoholism and other cancers as well. In fact, if you’re a frequent alcohol drinker and a smoker, your risk of getting cancer is higher than if you were only doing one or the other. You’ve most likely heard that drinking red wine will help prevent cancer, but unfortunately, that link hasn’t been definitively proven, while it has been proven that alcohol can lead to cancer. If you’re currently a heavy drinker and are looking to reduce your risk of cancer, quitting will give you positive long-term effects, though it may take several years for your risk to decrease. Ultimately, tobacco and alcohol are both dangerous and addictive substances that can increase your chances of getting cancer.

Recovery Is Possible

If you haven’t been diagnosed with cancer yet, there is still hope. Studies have shown that quitting risk behaviors will lead to a decrease in your risk of cancer, whether the decrease is immediate or long-term. Recovering from addiction can be extremely challenging and often it takes several attempts to quit for good. Getting help from professionals, like those at canadiancentreforaddictions.org, can give you a huge advantage in your attempt to quit. In a dedicated rehab center, you can focus on your recovery and be surrounded by people who will support and care for you. You’ll also have limited stressors. Often, people fail to stick with recovery because of external factors. Maybe you had a stressful day at work. Your body will automatically fall back on your old coping habit of smoking or drinking. Removing yourself from stressful situations and getting the support you need will help ingrain new patterns and coping habits. Success at rehab is a great first step on the road to recovery, and giving yourself the gift of quitting will greatly reduce your chances of cancer.

Keep yourself happy and healthy by quitting any dangerous habits and developing new, healthier ones. Focus on your diet and exercise and quit your vices. Lowering your chances of getting cancer will only benefit you and your family.