While it’s a well-known fact that alcohol abuse is a physical and mental health hazard that will eventually lead to addiction, new research indicates that it may be even more dangerous than initially believed. A study published in Nature International Journal of Science found that alcoholism damaged DNA and increased the likelihood of a person being diagnosed with cancer.

Scientists at a research institute in Cambridge, London studied the impact of acetaldehyde, a chemical that the body produces when processing alcohol, has on laboratory mice. Using DNA sequencing and chromosomal analysis, they found that acetaldehyde causes genetic damage in stem cells, which can contribute to the development of several different types of cancer, including bowel cancer and breast cancer.

These findings are backed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s designation of alcohol as a “Group 1 carcinogen.” This means that there is significant evidence that alcohol abuse can cause cancer to develop in humans.

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