Study Links Alcohol To Skin Cancer

Consuming one or more alcoholic drinks a day may increase your skin cancer risk by a fifth suggests a new study published in the British Journal of Dermatology.

The study looked at 16 different studies and involved thousands of participants. Risk increased proportionately with alcohol intake.

Those who drank 50g of ethanol daily (the equivalent of a few strong beers) were up to 55% more likely to develop the deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma, compared with non or occasional drinkers.


sunscreen, sun and skin cancer

Dr Eva Negri one of the study authors, said: “We know in the presence of UV radiation, drinking alcohol can alter the body’s immune competence and the ability to produce a normal immune response. This can lead to far greater cellular damage and subsequently cause skin cancers to form.”

She said other forces could also be at play. ” It’s possible that those who drink in the sun may do so without sufficient protective clothing or sun lotion. This study aimed to quantify the extent to which the melanoma risk is increased with alcohol intake. We  hope that armed with this knowledge people can better protect themselves in the sun.”

Now there’s an APP to help manage alcohol intake

StepAway is an app developed to help manage alcohol intake. The app’s developer, Patrick Dulin, PhD, from the University of Alaska Anchorage, presented his findings at the annual Telemedicine meeting. A six-week pilot study enrolled 28 people with alcohol-use problems – they drank at least 21 drinks per week for men and 14 drinks for women.

StepAway led them through 10 intervention steps designed to enhance coping, maintain motivation for change, provide connection to supportive others and increase their sense of control over alcohol. The results? Participants cut the number of drinks per day in half, and their days of no drinking at all went from 30% to 55%.

Step Away from alcohol

Alcohol-intervention programmes are often hit-or-miss the first (second or third) time, but this app might boost success when combined with more traditional 12-step programmes. And it offers support for people who can’t get to or don’t want to attend in-person alcohol recovery groups.

If you’re trying to stop or reduce your drinking, this is certainly worth a try.  Your liver, skin and your loved ones will thank you.