A new report demonstrates a link between the flushing that some people get with alcohol consumption and esophageal cancer risk. This flushing of the face is due to the lack of an enzyme known as aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2). There is mounting evidence that individuals who are deficient in ALDH2 have a higher risk of esophageal cancer, but many physicians are not aware of this correlation according to Philip J. Brooks, MD, of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
It is important to note that the increase in cancer risk is only for drinkers and doesn’t appear to affect non-drinkers. The increase of cancer risk in drinkers is seen even in moderate drinkers and should be discussed with a health care provider.