Ka reception without champagne, no folk festival without beer and no dignified meal without wine. The consumption of alcohol is ritual, socially accepted and cultivated. However, the new edition of the alcohol atlas for Germany that was published a few days ago shows the consequences of the broad acceptance of alcohol. 16 percent of adult men and 11 percent of adult women regularly drink such large quantities that it is anything but healthy. They don’t get drunk obviously, but they regularly have too much alcohol in their blood. Four percent of men and 1.5 percent of women even drink so much alcohol that they also have serious problems in their private and social environment and run the risk of getting into conflict with the law because of their alcohol consumption: They abuse alcohol. 4.8 percent of men and 1.9 percent of women are addicted to alcohol with all the social and health consequences that such an addiction entails. This means that a significant proportion of the adult population in Germany has a serious problem with alcohol.
The Alcohol Atlas, published by the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), also shows that 20,000 new cancer cases and 8,000 cancer-related deaths are attributable to alcohol consumption every year. Alcohol is a cytotoxin and damages the genome. The mutations that occur can be the starting point for cancer. This makes the substance the most important modifiable risk factor alongside nicotine and obesity. Alcohol promotes cancer in all organs with which it comes into direct contact. These are the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx and esophagus as well as the large intestine, rectum and liver. The risk of breast cancer also increases. Colon cancer is the most common alcohol-related cancer in men and breast cancer in women.