Alcohol and Cancer Risk (Along With Cancer Symptoms)

Alcohol and cancer risk is greatly concerns many people. After the background section, you’ll find a list of 50 cancers and their symptoms.

I. Background

A. Risk

Alcohol & Cancer Risk

I.   Background

II.  Cancers

III. General Resources

The major cause of death in most of the world is cardiovascular disease. That is, diseases of the heart and circulation system. Fortunately, drinking alcohol in moderation lowers that risk by about half. As a result, moderate drinkers tend to live longer than either abstainers or heavy abusive drinkers.

      Cancers                     Covered

  • Adrenal
  • Ampullary
  • Anal
  • Appendix
  • Bile Duct
  • Blood
  • Bone
  • Brain
  • Cervical
  • Colon
  • Connective Tissue
  • Ear
  • Endometrial
  • Eye
  • Fallopian
  • Gallbladder
  • Heart
  • Lacrimal Gland
  • Liver
  • Lung
  • Male Breast
  • Marrow
  • Mediastal
  • Mesothelioma
  • Nasopharyrnx
  • Nerve
  • Ovarian
  • Pancreatic
  • Parathyroid
  • Penile
  • Peripheral Nerve
  • Peritoneal
  • Pineal
  • Pituitary
  • Prostate
  • Rectal
  • Salivary Gland
  • Scrotal
  • Sebaceous
  • Small Intestine
  • Spleen
  • Stomach
  • Sweat Gland
  • Testicular
  • Thymus
  • Ureteral
  • Urethral
  • Uterine
  • Vaginal
  • Vulvar  

However, moderate drinking is associated with increased risk of several cancers. These include breast, mouth and throat cancers. The latter two are rare. Of special concern to most people is breast cancer.

Women have a one-in-twenty chance of dying from breast cancer. On the other hand, they have a roughly one-in-two chance of dying from cardiovascular disease. Neither outcome is desirable. Deciding which chance to take is clearly a very personal decision only a woman herself can make.

In either case, women can reduce the risk of breast cancer by doing two things. One is by taking supplements of folates. Second is by not smoking. Breast self-examination is the best way to detect possible signs of breast cancer early. Learn how. It’s easy. Remember that the sooner breast cancer is detected, the greater the chance of successful treatment.

These are symptoms of breast cancer:

  • New lump in a breast or armpit.
  • Swelling of all or part of a breast.
  • Irritation, thickening, or dimpling of breast skin.
  • Nipple pain or a nipple turns inward.
  • Pain in a breast.
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk.
  • Change in the size or shape of a breast.

B. Drinking Alcohol

Drinking alcohol in moderation reduces the risk of developing kidney, non-Hodgkin, Hodgkins, and thyroid cancers. It has no impact on the risk of developing virtually any other cancers.

On the other hand, heavy drinking is unwise. It’s dangerous to both health and safety. But what is drinking in moderation?

C. Moderation

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says moderate drinking is two standard drinks per day for men and one per day for women. Many medical research scientists define it at higher levels. So do many other countries.

A standard alcoholic drink is a

  • 12-ounce can or bottle of regular beer.
  • Five-ounce glass of dinner wine.
  • One shot (one and one-half ounces) of spirits. That’s whiskey, vodka, tequila, rum, gin, etc.

Standard drinks contain the same amounts of alcohol. Specifically, it’s 0.6 of an ounce of pure alcohol.

There’s no evidence that any form of alcoholic beverage gives more health benefits. That is, beer, wine, and spirits are equally helpful.

D. Symptoms

Having symptoms does not mean that you have a disease. However, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Therefore, it’s wise to consult a doctor or nurse about your symptoms.

II. Cancers

Moderate drinking does not increase the risk of developing any of these cancers. That’s according to medical organizations that evaluate the research evidence. (Click on a cancer heading for more information.)

Along with each each cancer is a list of resources for patients and others. Clicking on a resource title gives more information about that resource.

ADRENAL CANCER

The adrenal glands produce adrenaline. They also produce other important hormones. These include those involving metabolism, the immune system, blood pressure, sex, and other processes. Therefore, there are many possible symptoms of adrenal gland cancer.

Adrenal gland
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Nervousness.
  • Feelings of anxiety.
  • Headache.
  • Sweating more than usual.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Unexpected weight gain or loss.
  • Weakness.
  • Abdominal stretch marks.
  • Excessive hair growth.
  • Changes in genitals.
  • Unusual acne.
  • Change in sex drive.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Low potassium level.
  • Onset of diabetes.

Resources

Nat. Film Board. In My Own Time – Diary of a Cancer Patient [with adrenal cancer). Video. Montreal: the Board, 1995.

Visel, D. Living with Cancer. A Practical Guide. New Brunswick: RU Press, 2008.

AMPULLARY CANCER

Ampullary cancer forms in an area of the digestive system called the ampulla of Vater. It’s where the bile duct and pancreatic duct join and empty into the small intestine.

Symptoms of ampullary cancer may include:

Ampulla of Vater
  • Jaundice or yellowing in the skin and white part of the eyes.
  • Clay-colored stools.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Fever.
  • Rectal bleeding.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Unexpected weight loss.

Resources

Medical Tests Sourcebook: Basic Consumer Health Information. Detroit: Omni, 2018.

Silver, J. What Helped Get Me Through. Cancer Survivors Share Wisdom and Hope. Atlanta: ACS, 2009.

 

ANAL CANCER   

Important symptoms of anal cancer include:

alcohol and cancer risk
Anal Cancer
  • Rectal bleeding.
  • A lump or mass at the anal opening.
  • Pain or a feeling of fullness in the anal area.
  • Narrowing of stool or other changes in bowel movements.
  • Abnormal discharge from the anus.
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the anal or groin areas.
  • Rectal itching.

Resources

Macmillan Cancer Support (MCS). Understanding Anal Cancer: a Practical Guide. London: MCS, 2017.

Silver, J. What Helped Get Me Through. Cancer Survivors Share Wisdom and Hope. Atlanta: ACS, 2009.

 

APPENDIX CANCER

The appendix is at the junction of the small intestine and large intestine. Its function, if any, is unknown.

Symptoms of appendix cancer include:

alcohol and cancer risk
Appendix with appendicitis.
  • Pain in the lower right section of the abdomin area.
  • Bloating.
  • An inflated abdomen.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Problems digesting food.
  • Constipation and/or diarrhea.

Resources

Medical Tests Sourcebook: Basic Consumer Health Information. Detroit: Omni, 2018.

Peterson, S. It Isn’t Ugly Forever: a To-do List for Fighting Cancer. Columbia, SC: Peterson, 2018.

 

BILE DUCT CANCER

The bile duct carries bile from the gallbladder to the upper part of the small intestine (the duodenum). Symptoms of bile duct cancer include the following.

Bile Duct
  • Jaundice or yellowing in the skin and white part of the eyes.
  • Very itchy skin.
  • White-colored stools.
  • Fatigue.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Unintended weight loss.

Resources

Healthy Roads. Bile Duct Cancer: An Introduction. Healthy Roads. eVideo.

Marshall, J. Surviving Cancer as a Family. Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2010.

 

BLOOD CANCER (Leukemia or Leukaemia)

Symptoms of blood cancer may include any of these.

  • Fever or chills.
  • Continuing fatigue, weakness.
  • Frequent or severe infections.
  • Unexpected weight loss.
  • Swollen lymph nodes.
  • Easy bleeding or bruising.
  • Frequent nosebleeds.
  • Tiny red spots in the skin.
  • Unusual sweating, especially at night.
  • Bone pain or tenderness.

Resources

Abramovitz, M. Leukemia. Detroit: Lucent, 2010. (Elemen and jr high)

Ball, E. and Kagan, A. 100 Questions & Answers about Leukemia. Burlington, MA: Jones, 2013.

Blood cancerLCOHOL AND LEUKEMIA (web page)

Shannon, J. Leukemia Sourcebook. Detroit: Omnigraphics, 2003.

Keene, N. Childhood Leukemia. A Guide for Families, Friends & Caregivers. Beijing: O’Reilly, 2010.

Landier, W. and Hartrum, H. Coping with Childhood Leukemia. White Plains, NY: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, 2012.

Morrison, C. and Hesdorffer, C. Patients’ Guide to Leukemia. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett, 2011.

National Cancer Institute. What You Need to Know about Leukemia. Bethesda: U.S. HHS, 2013.

Smith, S. Leukemia. Causes. (Patient’s guide.) Bethesda: U.S. HHS, 2012.

 

BONE CANCER

There are few symptoms of bone cancer. However, here are two.

Bone cancer (osteosarcoma)
  • Pain
  • Swelling near a bone

However, not all bone cancers cause any pain. And many other conditions can cause pain or swelling. Therefore, it’s wise to consult a doctor or nurse.

Resources

Bone cancer (web page)

Orr, T. Frequently Asked Questions about Bone Cancer. NY: Rosen, 2008. (Juv)

_____. Bone Cancer. NY: Rosen, 2008. (Juv)

Parker, P. and Parker, J. Bone Cancer. (Patient’s guide.) San Diego: ICON, 2003.

Questions and Answers. Bethesda: Nat Cancer Inst, 2008.

 

BRAIN CANCER

The symptoms of brain cancer depend on the size and location of the tumor.

Common brain cancer symptoms include:
alcohol and cancer risk

  • Headaches that are usually worse in the morning.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Lack of coordination.
  • Poor balance.
  • Difficulty walking.
  • Memory lapses.
  • Difficulty thinking.
  • Speech problems.
  • Vision problems.
  • Personality changes.
  • Abnormal eye movements.
  • Muscle jerking.
  • Muscle twitching.
  • Unexplained passing out.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs.
  • Seizures.

Resources

Healthy Roads. Brain Cancer: An Introduction. Healthy Roads. eVideo.

Lasker, J. Brain Cancer. Chelsea House, 2008.

 

CERVICAL CANCER

The cervix connects the main part of the uterus and the vagina.

alcohol and cancer risk
Cervix

These are the common symptoms of cervical cancer.

  • Vaginal bleeding between periods.
  • Much heavier or longer menstrual bleeding.
  • Bleeding after intercourse.
  • Vaginal bleeding after menopause.
  • Pain during intercourse.
  • Unusual vaginal discharge.
  • Excessive tiredness.
  • Leg swelling or pain.
  • Low back pain.

Resources

Cervical cancer (web page)

Dizon, D., et al. 100 Questions & Answers about Cervical Cancer. Sudbury, MA: Jones, 2009.

Lunnen, M. The Essential Guide to Cervical Cancer. Peterborough: Need-2-Know, 2018.

McCormick, C., et al.  Patients’ Guide to Cervical Cancer. Sudbury, MA: Jones, 2011.

Markovic, N. What Every Woman Should Know about Cervical Cancer. NY: Springer, 2018.

 

COLON CANCER

The colon is another name for the large intestine. Any of these could be a sign of colon cancer.

Colon
  • Diarrhea and/or  constipation.
  • Change in stool consistency for over two weeks.
  • Stools that are thinner than usual.
  • Rectal bleeding with dark blood. Or stool that is black.
  • Continuing abdominal pain or discomfort.
  • A feeling that the bowels can’t be emptied completely.
  • Unexpected weight loss.
  • Loss of appetite.                   
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Unusual fatigue.
  • Anemia.
  • Jaundice or yellowing in the skin and white part of the eyes.

Resources

Allman, T. Colon Cancer. Detroit: Lucent, 2012.

Am. Cancer Soc. Colon Cancer: What You Need to Know– Now. Atlanta: the Soc., 2007.

Bub, D. et al. 100 Questions & Answers about Colorectal Cancer. Sudbury, MA: Jones, 2008.

Colon cancer (web page)

Feinberg, B. Colon Cancer Answers. Decatur, GA: Lenz, 2007.

Iveson, T. Understanding Colon Cancer. London: Macmillan Cancer Support, 2017.

Livingston, E. Living with Colon Cancer: Beating the Odds. Amherst, NY: Promethius, 2005.

Ruggieri, P. Colon & Rectal Cancer: a Patient’s Guide. Omaha: Addicus, 2001.

 

CONNECTIVE TISSUE CANCER

alcohol and cancer risk
Soft Connective Tissue

About half of connective tissue cancers are on an arm or leg. About four of 10 begin in the abdomen.

Symptoms of the cancer may be any of these.

  • A new lump or a lump that’s growing anywhere on the body.
  • Abdominal pain that gets worse.
  • Blood in stool or vomit.
  • Black, tarry stools.

Resources

Hoffman, B. A Cancer Survivor’s Almanac: Charting Your Journey. NY: Wiley, 2004.

Jones, K. Cancer Sourcebook. Detroit: 2015.

 

EAR CANCER

Symptoms can include these, depending on the location of the cancer.
alcohol and cancer risk

  • Discharge from ear.
  • Hearing loss.
  • Lump in ear canal.
  • Weakness in face.
  • Earache.
  • Headache.
  • Tinnitus (noises, such a ringing, in ear).
  • Dizziness.

Resources

Balkany, T. and Brown, K. The Ear Book. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U Press, 2017.

Medical Tests Sourcebook: Basic Consumer Health Information. Detroit: Omni, 2018.

 

ENDOMETRIAL CANCER

alcohol and cancer risk
Endometrium

The endometrium is the innermost lining of the uterus. Some of the signs of endometrial cancer don’t appear until the disease is advanced.

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding, spotting or other discharge.
  • Pain in the pelvis.
  • A mass felt in the abdomen.
  • Unexpected weight loss.

Resources

Endometrial cancer (web page)

Greggi, S. Endometrial Cancer. Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment. NY: Nova, 2013.

Kwabi-Addo, B. and Lindstrom, T. Cancer Causes and Controversies. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2011.

 

EYE CANCER

Be sensitive to any of the following changes. Any one of them might indicate eye cancer.

  • Blurred vision or other change in vision.
  • Floaters (spots that drift in your field of vision).
  • Flashes of light.
  • A dark spot on the iris.
  • Change in the size or shape of the pupil.
  • Any change in the position of the eyeball in the eye socket.

Resources

Cancer Sourcebook. Basic Consumer Health Information. Detroit, Omni, 2018.

NIH. Eye Cancer. Washington: NIH.

 

FALLOPIAN TUBE CANCER

Eggs pass from an ovary to the uterus through fallopian tubes. There is one ovary and one fallopian tube on each side of the uterus.

Any of these symptoms might indicate fallopian cancer.

Fallopian Tubes
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain or feeling of pressure.
  • Unusual vaginal discharge.
  • A pelvic mass or lump.
  • Abdominal pain that comes in spasms.
  • Enlarged pelvis.

Resources

Fallopian tube cancer (web page)

Hartman, L. and Loprinzi, C. Mayo Clinic Guide to Women’s Cancers. Rochester, MN: Mayo, 2007.

Turkington, C. and Edelson, M. The Encyclopedia of Women’s Reproductive Cancer. NY: Facts on File, 2009.

 

GALLBLADDER CANCER

The gallbladder stores bile produced by the liver. It sends bile into the small intestine to help digest fat.

Signs of possible gallbladder cancer include these.

Gallbladder
  • Abdominal pain, most often in the upper right.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Jaundice or yellowing in the skin and white part of the eyes.
  • Lumps in the abdomen.

Less common symptoms may include any of these:

  • Loss of appetite.
  • Unexpected weight loss.
  • Swelling in the abdomen.
  • Fever.
  • Itchy skin.
  • Dark urine.
  • Light-colored or greasy stools.

Resources

Holm, R., et al. Gallbladder Disease. Brookings, SD: SD State U Coop Ext, 2009.

James, D. and Scott, L. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Digestive Health. NY: Alpha, 2010.

King, J. and Rohan, R. Mayo Clinic on Digestive Health. Prince Frederick, MD: Recorded Books, 2002. (Audio)

 

HEART CANCER

Any of these symptoms might indicate heart cancer.
alcohol and cancer risk

  • Difficulty breathing when lying down.
  • Fainting, lightheadedness or dizziness.
  • Rapid heart rate.
  • Chest pain or tightness.
  • Fever or cough.
  • Unexpected weight loss.
  • Joint pain.
  • Fingers that change color, or turn blue when pressed.
  • Unusual nail curvature.
  • Swelling of the legs, ankles or abdomen.

Resources

Hoffman, B. A Cancer Survivor’s Almanac: Charting Your Journey. NY: Wiley, 2004.

Visel, D. Living with Cancer. A Practical Guide. New Brunswick: RU Press, 2008.

 

LACRIMAL GLAND CANCER     

The lacrimal glands provide tears to eyes. Symptoms of lacrimal gland cancer may be any of these.

  • Vision problems, such as blurry vision o double vision.
  • Pain in or around the eye.
  • A fullness of the eyelid, or a mass that can be felt on the eyelid.
  • Swelling around the eye.

Resources

Eye Care Sourcebook. Detroit: Omni, 2017. 5th ed.

Macmillan Cancer Support (MCS). Body Image and Cancer. London: MCS, 2016.

 

LIVER CANCER

The liver detoxifies the blood, creates proteins and produces chemicals needed for digestion and growth.

Liver cancer usually occurs when an alcohol abuser stops drinking. When this happens, the liver begins rapidly repairing itself. It’s during this very fast growth of cells that cancer begins.

The signs of liver cancer tend to be some of these.

Liver is shown in brown.
  • Unexpected weight loss.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Upper abdominal pain.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • General weakness and fatigue.
  • Abdominal swelling.
  • Jaundice or yellowing in the skin and white part of the eyes.
  • White, chalky stools.

Resources

Abou-Alfa, G. and DeMatteo, R. 100 Questions and Answers about Liver Cancer. Sudbury, MA: Jones, 2006.

Jones, K. Cancer Sourcebook. Detroit: 2015.

 

LUNG CANCER

Lungs have few nerves. As a result lung cancer doesn’t cause pain until its later stages.

These are possible symptoms of lung cancer.
alcohol and cancer risk

  • A continuing cough that gets worse.
  • Hoarseness.
  • Constant chest pain.
  • Shortness of breath or wheezing.
  • Frequent lung infections.
  • Coughing up blood.

If the lung cancer has spread to other parts of the body, the symptoms aren’t related to the lungs or breathing. They may include these.

  • Unexpected weight loss.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Headaches.
  • Bone pain or fractures.
  • Blood clots.
  • Painless swelling of lymph nodes in neck, armpits or groin.
  • Continuing fatigue.
  • Fever.
  • Night sweats.
  • Itchy skin

Resources

Falk, S. and Williams, C. Lung Cancer. NY: Oxford U. Press, 2010.

Langwith, J. Lung Cancer. Detroit: Greenhaven, 2011.

Macmillan Cancer Support (MCS). Coping with Advanced Cancer. London: MCS, 2019.

Sheen, B. Lung Cancer. Detroit: Lucent, 2008. (Juven. aud.)

 

MALE BREAST CANCER

People are often surprised to learn that men can suffer breast cancer. Because of this, they may ignore symptoms, such as these.

Like others, male breast cancer can spread.
  • A painless lump or thickening in  breast tissue.
  • Changes to the skin covering  breast. May be  dimpling, puckering, redness, or scaling.
  • Changes to nipple, such as redness or scaling, or a nipple that begins to turn inward.
  • Discharge from nipple.

Resources

Healthy Roads. Male Breast Cancer: An Introduction. Healthy Roads.

Parker, J. and Parker, P. The Official Patient’s Sourcebook on Male Breast Cancer. San Diego: Icon, 2002.

Samuels, A. Male Breast Cancer. Lexington, KY: Creatspace, 2011.

 

MARROW CANCER

Marrow is a soft substance in the cavities of bones. It produces blood cells. Any of the following might be a sign of marrow cancer.

alcohol and cancer risk
Marrow shown in yellow.
  • Continuing dull ache or areas of tenderness in  bones.
  • Weak bones that break easily.
  • Tiredness.
  • Weakness.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Repeated infections.
  • Kidney problems.
  • Bruising and unusual bleeding.

Resources

Libov, C. Cancer Survival Guide. How to Conquer It and Lead a Good Life. NY: Humanix, 2016.

Visel, D. Living with Cancer. A Practical Guide. New Brunswick: RU Press, 2008.

 

MEDIASTAL CANCER

The mediastinum separates the lungs and heart. About 40% of people who have mediastinal cancer have no symptoms. Most mediastinal cancers are discovered from imaging for other reasons.

Symptoms often result from the pressure the cancer makes on organs and  may include any of these.

alcohol and cancer risk
Medistinum
  • Cough.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Flushing.
  • Fever.
  • Chills.
  • Night sweats.
  • Coughing up blood.
  • Hoarseness.
  • Unexpected weight loss.
  • Tender lymph nodes.
  • Wheezing.
  • High-pitched and noisy breathing.
  • Eye problems (drooping eyelid, small pupil) on one side of the face.

Resources

Libov, C. Cancer Survival Guide. How to Conquer It and Lead a Good Life. NY: Humanix, 2016.

Marshall, J. Surviving Cancer as a Family. Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2010.

 

MESOTHELIOMA

Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer in the tissue (mesothelium) that covers most internal organs and lines many body cavities.

Symptoms of methothelioma may be some of these. Specific symptoms depend on which organs are involved. For example, if the lungs are involved, the symptoms may be

alcohol and cancer risk
Mesothelium
  • Chest pain.
  • Painful coughing.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Unusual lumps of tissue under the skin on chest.
  • Unexpected weight loss.

And if other organs are involved, symptoms may be

  • Abdominal pain.
  • Nausea.
  • Abdominal swelling.

References

Cure Media Group. Understanding Mesothelioma. Dallas: Cure Media Group, 2013.

Macmillan Cancer Support (MCS). Understanding Mesothelioma. London: MCS, 2013. 7th ed.

Pass, H. et al. 100 Questions & Answers: Mesothelioma. London: Class, 2005.

 

NASOPHARYNX CANCER  

The nasopharynx is the hollow space behind the nose and above the mouth. A cancer in the nasopharynx might lead to any of these symptoms.

Nasopharynx
  • Lump in the nose or neck.
  • Sore throat.
  • Trouble breathing or speaking.
  • Nosebleeds.
  • Trouble hearing.
  • Pain or ringing in the ear.
  • Headaches.

Resources

Cancer Sourcebook. Basic Consumer Health Information. Detroit, Omni, 2018.

Medical Tests Sourcebook: Basic Consumer Health Information. Detroit: Omni, 2018.

 

NERVE CANCER (Neuroblastoma)

Neuroblastoma is caused by the abnormal development of immature nerve cells. The cancer usuall occurs in children before puberty.

Signs of nerve cancer may include any of these.

Nervous System
  • Lump or swelling in the child’s abdomen or neck that doesn’t seem to hurt.
  • Swelling of the legs or upper chest, neck and face.
  • Enlarged abdomen.
  • Problems breathing or swallowing
  • U expected weight loss
  • Not eating or complaining about feeling full.
  • Problems with bowel movements or urinating.
  • Pain in bones.
  • Lumps or bumps in the skin that may appear blue.
  • Drooping eyelid and small pupil in one eye
  • Problems being able to feel or move parts of the body.
  • Eyes that appear to bulge and/or bruising around the eyes.

Resources

Marshall, J. Surviving Cancer as a Family. Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2010.

Medical Tests Sourcebook: Basic Consumer Health Information. Detroit: Omni, 2018.

 

OVARIAN CANCER

Ovaries are organs that produce eggs (or ova). One of the deadliest forms of cancer, ovarian cancer is also one of the few for which genetic testing can largely determine a woman’s risk.

The most common signs of ovarian cancer are these.

An ovaty
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain.
  • Bloating.
  • Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly.
  • Urgent or frequent urination.

Other possible signs are

  • Painful sexual intercourse.
  • Constipation.
  • Menstrual irregularities.
  • Back pain.
  • Indigestion.
  • Fatigue.

Resources

Elit, L. Women and Cancer. NY: Nova, 2007.

Fisanick, C. Ovarian Cancer. Detroit: Gale, 2012.

Macmillan Cancer Support (MCS). How Are You Feeling? The Emotional Effects of Cancer. London: MCS, 2019.(web page)

Ovarian cancer (web page)

Ovarian Cancer. Video. NY: Films Media, 2014.

Smith, J. and Del Priore, G.  Women’s Cancers. A Patient’s Guide to Dealing with Cancer. London: Imperial, 2016.

 

PANCREATIC CANCER

The pancreas promotes digestion and helps regulate blood sugar. Unfortunately, the symptoms of pancreatic cancer don’t usually appear until it’s very advanced. These are some of the signs of possible pancreatic cancer.

alcohol and cancer rik
Pancreas shown in yellow.
  • Back or stomach pain.
  • Abdominal gas and bloating.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Nausea.
  • Unexpected weight loss.
  • Jaundice or yellowing in the skin and white part of the eyes.
  • Diarrhea, constipation or both.
  • Sudden onset of type 2 diabetes in people age 50 or older.
  • Well-controlled diabetes changing.

Resources

Ahuja, N. and Coleman, J. Patients’ Guide to Pancreatic Cancer. Sudbury, MA: Jones, 2012.

Cancer Council. Understanding Pancreatic Cancer. You are not Alone.. Sydney: Media One, 2010. DVD video.

Lustgarten Found. Pancreatic Cancer Res.  Understanding Pancreatic Cancer. A Guide for Patients and Caregivers. Bethpage, NY: The Foundation, 2007.

Macmillan Cancer Support (MCS). Coping with Advanced Cancer. London: MCS, 2019.

O’Reilly, E. and Kelvin, J. 100 Questions & Answers about Pancreatic Cancer. Sudbury, MA: Jones, 2010.

Pancreas cancer (web page)

 

PARATHYROID CANCER

Parathyroid glands control the amount of calcium in blood. Signs of parathyroid cancer may include these.

thyroid cancer risk

  • Lump in the neck.
  • Weakness.
  • Being unusually tired.

Resources

Medical Tests Sourcebook: Basic Consumer Health Information. Detroit: Omni, 2018.

Silver, J. What Helped Get Me Through. Cancer Survivors Share Wisdom and Hope. Atlanta: ACS, 2009.

 

PENILE CANCER

Possible symptoms of penile cancer include these on or from the penis.

alcohol and cancer risk
Structures of the penis
  • Sores.
  • Discharge.
  • Bleeding.
  • Irritation.
  • Redness.

Resources

Eardley, I. Living with Penile Cancer. In Muneer, A. and Horenblas, S. (eds). Penile Cancer. Cham, Swit: Springer, 2016, 295-301.  

Libov, C. Cancer Survival Guide. How to Conquer It and Lead a Good Life. NY: Humanix, 2016.

Macmillan Cancer Support (MCS). Body Image and Cancer. London: MCS, 2016.

Penis cancer (web page)

Williams, A. Sexual Health Information for Teens. Detroit: Omni, 2018.

 

PERIPHERAL NERVE CANCER

The peripheral nervous system refers to parts of the nervous system outside the brain and spinal cord.

Peripheral Nervous System

Symptoms of peripheral nerve cancer may include some of these.

  • Swelling or a lump under the skin.
  • Pain, tingling or numbness.
  • Weakness or loss of function in the affected area.
  • Dizziness or loss of balance.

If a lump is growing quickly, see a doctor right away.

Resources

Cicala, R. The Cancer Pain Sourcebook. NY: McGraw-Hill, 2002.

Wiessman, J. Peripheral Neuropathy: What You can do to Feel Better. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U. Press, 2002.

 

PERITONEAL CANCER

Theperitoneun is a membrane lining the cavity of the abdomen and covering the abdominal organs. Signs of peritoneal cancer may include any of these.

Peritoneal cavity shown in blue.
  • Abdominal bloating.
  • Changes in bowel habits.
  • An early feeling of fullness after eating.
  • Nausea and vomiting.

Resources

Libov, C. Cancer Survival Guide. How to Conquer It and Lead a Good Life. NY: Humanix, 2016.

Macmillan Cancer Support (MCS). A Practical Guide to Living with and After Cancer. London: MCS, 2017. 8th ed.

 

PINEAL CANCER

The small pineal gland is in the brain. It produces hormones that regulate sleep patterns and also help regulate female hormone levels.

Signs of pineal cancer may include these.
alcohol and cancer risk

  • Headaches (common).
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Vision changes.
  • Trouble with eye movements.
  • Tiredness.
  • Memory problems.
  • Balance or coordination problems.

Resources

Marshall, J. Surviving Cancer as a Family. Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2010.

Silver, J. What Helped Get Me Through. Cancer Survivors Share Wisdom and Hope. Atlanta: ACS, 2009.

 

PITUITARY CANCER  

The pituitary is an endocrine (hormone-producing) gland. It’s just  below the brain, behind the bridge of the nose. This “master gland” controls most other endocrine glands.

Symptoms of pituitary cancer may include one or more of these.  

Pituitary Gland
  • Headaches.
  • Vision problems.
  • Unexplained tiredness.
  • Mood changes.
  • Irritability.
  • Changes in menstrual cycles in women
  • Erectile dysfunction in men.
  • Inability to have children.
  • Inappropriate breast growth or production of breast milk

Resources

Cancer Sourcebook. Basic Consumer Health Information. Detroit, Omni, 2018.

Peterson, S. It Isn’t Ugly Forever: a To-do List for Fighting Cancer. Columbia, SC: Peterson, 2018.

 

PROSTATE CANCER

The prostate makes fluid that both nourishes and protects sperm. During ejaculation, the prostate squeezes this fluid into the urethra. It’s expelled with sperm as semen.

Symptoms that might indicate prostate cancer include these.

Prostate
  • Frequent urination, especially at night.
  • Difficulty starting or stopping urination.
  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine.
  • Blood in urine or semen.
  • Painful ejaculation.
  • Difficulty having erections.
  • Frequent pain or stiffness in lower back, hips, or upper thighs.

Resources

Cancer Society. Prostate Cancer: a Guide for Men with Prostate Cancer. Wellington: Cancer Society, 2019.

Living with Prostate Cancer. San Francisco: Kanopy, 2016 (eVideo).

Melman, A. and Newnham, R. After Prostate Cancer: a Guide to a Recovery. NY: Oxford U Press, 2011.

Prostate cancer (web page)

Westbrook, D. So, I have Prostate Cancer, What Now? St. Leonards, NSW: Prostate Cancer Found, 2008 (DVD Video).

 

RECTAL CANCER

The final section of the large intestine, ending at the anus. Any of the following might reflect rectal cancer.

Rectum
  • Diarrhea, constipation, or both.
  • Change in stool consistency for over two weeks.
  • Stools that are thinner than usual.
  • Rectal bleeding with dark blood. Or stool that is black.
  • Continuing abdominal pain or discomfort.
  • A feeling that the bowels can’t be emptied completely.
  • Unexpected weight loss.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Unexplained fatigue.
  • Anemia.
  • Jaundice or yellowing in the skin and white part of the eyes.

Resources

Real Time Health. Living with Colorectal Cancer. Video. San Francisco: Kanopy, 2016.

Rectal cancer (web page)

Visel, D. Living with Cancer. A Practical Guide. New Brunswick: RU Press, 2008.

 

SALIVARY CANCER

Indications of possible salivary cancer may be any of these.

  • A lump or swelling in mouth, cheek, jaw, or neck.
  • Pain in mouth, cheek, jaw, ear, or neck that does not go away.
  • A difference between the size and/or shape of the left and right sides of face or neck.
  • Numbness in part of face.
  • Weakness of the muscles on one side of face.
  • Trouble opening mouth widely.
  • Fluid draining from an ear.
  • Trouble swallowing.

Resources

Cancer Sourcebook. Basic Consumer Health Information. Detroit, Omni, 2018.

Medical Tests Sourcebook: Basic Consumer Health Information. Detroit: Omni, 2018.

 

SCROTAL CANCER

The scrotum is a pouch of skin containing the testicles. Symptoms of scrotal cancer include these.

Scrotum
  • Lump or sore on the skin of the scrotum. It may be either painful or painless.
  • Unusual growth of scrotum.

Resources

Haylock, P. Men’s Cancers. How to Prevent Them, How to Treat Them, How to Beat Them. Alameda, CA: Hunter, 2001.

Macmillan Cancer Support (MCS). Body Image and Cancer. London: MCS, 2016.

________. How Are You Feeling? The Emotional Effects of Cancer. London: MCS, 2019.

Morra, M. and Potts, E. Choices. NY: HarperCollins, 2003.

Murphy, M. My Battle with Male Cancer. Dingle: Brandon, 2010.

Scrotal cancer (web page)

 

SEBACEOUS  GLAND CANCER

Sebaceous are small oil-producing glands. They release an oily substance, sebum, into hair follicles. This helps moisten and protect the skin.

Sebaceous gland cancer is most likely to appear on an eyelid. Possible signs include these.

  • Pimple-like growth.
  • Growth that bleeds.
  • Sore that will not heal or reappears.

Resources

Cancer Sourcebook. Basic Consumer Health Information. Detroit, Omni, 2018.

Iveson, T. et al. Understanding Skin Cancer. London: Macmillan Cancer Support, 2014.

Macmillan Cancer Support (MCS). Body Image and Cancer. London: MCS, 2016.

________. How Are You Feeling? The Emotional Effects of Cancer. London: MCS, 2019.

 

SMALL INTESTINE CANCER

The small intestine is where 90% of the digestion and absorption of vitamins and minerals occurs. The other 10% takes place in the stomach and large intestine.

Symptoms of small intestine cancer are these.

Small intestine surrounded by large intestine shown in green.
  • Blood in the stool.
  • Dark/black stools.
  • Diarrhea.
  • A lump in the abdomen.
  • Pain or cramps in the abdomen.
  • Unexpected weight loss.
  • Episodes of abdominal pain, often with severe nausea or vomiting.  

Resources

Beebe-Dimmer, J. et al. Small Intestine Cancer. NY: Oxford U. Press, 2017.

Macmillan Cancer Support (MCS). A Practical Guide to Living with and After Cancer. London: MCS, 2017. 8th ed.

 

SPLEEN CANCER

The spleen filters blood, recycles old blood cells, stores, and stores platelets and white blood cells.

If people have spleen cancer, they might have some of these signs.
alcohol and cancer risk

  • Feel full after eating.
  • Pain in the upper-left side of abdomen.
  • Have frequent infections.
  • Bleed easily.
  • Be anemic.
  • Have fatigue.

Other signs may include:

  • Large lymph nodes.
  • Fever.
  • Sweating or chills.
  • Unexpected weight loss.
  • Swollen abdomen.
  • Chest pain or pressure.
  • Cough or shortness of breath.

Resources

Marshall, J. Surviving Cancer as a Family. Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2010.

Medical Tests Sourcebook: Basic Consumer Health Information. Detroit: Omni, 2018.

 

STOMACH CANCER

Signs of possible stomach cancer include these.

  • Abdominal pain.
  • Belching.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Vomiting blood.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Problem swallowing.
  • Heartburn.
  • Indigestion.
  • Dark Stools.
  • Diarrhea and/or Constipation.
  • Premature abdominal fullness after eating.
  • Vague abdominal fullness.
  • Weakness or fatigue.
  • Unexpected weight loss.
  • General decline in health.

Resources

Crocker, B. Betty Crocker Living with Cancer Cookbook. Hoboken: Wiley, 2014.

Marshall, J. Surviving Cancer as a Family. Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2010.

Shah, M., et al. 100 Questions & Answers about Gastric Cancer. Sudbury, MA: Jones, 2008.

Stomach cancer (web page)

 

SWEAT GLAND CANCER

Sweat glands shown in pinkish orange.

This cancer most often occurs during puberty or later. It usually appears on eyelids or around the eyes. However, it may appear on arm pits, lower abdomen, or vulva

Signs of sweat gland cancer include these.

  • Small bumps appear under the skin.
  • May only be one bump or many.

Resources

Cancer Sourcebook. Basic Consumer Health Information. Detroit, Omni, 2018.

Iveson, T. et al. Understanding Skin Cancer. London: Macmillan Cancer Support, 2014.

Macmillan Cancer Support (MCS). Body Image and Cancer. London: MCS, 2016.

________. How Are You Feeling? The Emotional Effects of Cancer. London: MCS, 2019.

 

TESTICULAR CANCER

The testicles produce and store sperm. They also the body’s main source of the male hormone testosterone.

Symptoms of testicular cancer include these.

  • A lump in a testicle.
  • Enlargement or swelling of a testicle.
  • Pain in a testicle or in the scrotum.
  • Feeling of heaviness in the scrotum.
  • A collection of fluid in the scrotum.
  • Dull ache in the groin, lower abdomen, back or in the groin.
  • An enlargement or tenderness of the breasts.

Monthly self-examination of the testicles is useful in early diagnosis of the disease. And the Testicular Cancer Society describes how to do it.

Resources

Duffy, R. The Guide to Testicular Cancer. Peterborough: Need-2-Know, 2018.

Macmillan Cancer Support (MCS). Understanding Testicular Cancer. London: MCS, 2018.

NCI. Testicular Cancer: Questions and Answers. Bethesda: NCI, 2005.

Parker, J. and Parker, P. Testicular Cancer. (Patient guide.) San Diego: Icon, 2004.

Testiclar cancer (web page)

 

THYMUS CANCER

The thymus produces T-cells (thymus-derived cells). They help destroy infected or cancerous cells.

Signs of possible thymus cancer include these.

Thymus is located under the star.
  • A cough that doesn’t go away or gets worse.
  • Chest pain.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Trouble swallowing.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Unexpected weight loss.
  • Tiredness or weakness.
  • Swelling in face and arms.
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness.
  • Headaches.

Resources

Cadorette, J. Live with Courage Lead with Hope: a Memoir of a Life Well-lived. [thymus cancer] NH: Cadorette, 2016.

Oakley, B. Hanging on for Dear Life: Our Family’s Victory over Cancer [of the thymus]. Bloomington: WestBow, 2013.

Pillage, A. Breaking Bob. [thymus cancer] Corby: 3P, 2016.

 

URETERAL CANCER

The ureters connect the kidneys to the urinary bladder.

Symptoms of ureteral cancer include:

Ureter
  • Blood in urine.
  • Back pain.
  • Pain when urinating.
  • Unexpected weight loss.
  • Fatigue.

Resources

Cancer Sourcebook. Basic Consumer Health Information. Detroit, Omni, 2018.

Hoffman, B. A Cancer Survivor’s Almanac: Charting Your Journey. NY: Wiley, 2004.

 

URETHRAL CANCER   

The urethra carries urine from the urinary bladder to outside the body.

Possible symptoms of urethral cancer include these.

alcohol and cancer risk
Urethra
  • Trouble starting urine flow.
  • Weak or interrupted urine flow.
  • Frequent urination, especially at night.
  • Leakage of urine.
  • Discharge from the urethra.
  • Bleeding from the urethra or blood in the urine.
  • Lump or thickness in the area between the vulva or the scrotum and the anus.
  • The above symptom in the penis.
  • Painless lump or swelling in the groin.

Resources

Libov, C. Cancer Survival Guide. How to Conquer It and Lead a Good Life. NY: Humanix, 2016.

Parker, P. and Parker, J. The Official Patient’s Sourcebook on Urethral Cancer. Icon, 2007.

 

UTERINE CANCER

Possible signs of uterine cancer include these.

alcohol and cancer risk
Uterus
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding, spotting, or discharge.
  • Abnormal results from a Pap test.
  • Pain in the pelvic area.

Resources

Cancer Council Victoria. Cancer of the Uterus: for Women with Cancer, Their Family and Friends. Carlton, Vic: the Council, 2007.

Diaz-Montes, T. et al. Patients’ Guide to Uterine Cancer. Sudbury, MA: Jones, 2010.

Drescher, F. Cancer Schmancer. NY: Warner, 2002.

Uterine cancer (web page)

 

VAGINAL CANCER

Many people confuse the vagina (sometimes called the birth canal) with the vulva. However, the vulva refers to those parts of the reproductive system outside or exterior to the vagina. See the section on vulvar cancer for more.

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Difficulty or pain when urinating
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Pain in the pelvic area.
  • Swelling in the legs.
  • Abnormal bowel function.
  • Fever or cough.
  • Pain in the back or legs
  • Unexpected weight loss.
  • Joint pain.
  • Fingers that change color when pressed.alcohol and cancer risk
  • Unusual nail curvature.
  • Swelling of the legs, ankles or abdomen.

Resources

CDC. Vaginal and Vulvar Cancers. Atlanta: CDC, 2009.

Macmillan Cancer Support (MCS). How Are You Feeling? The Emotional Effects of Cancer. London: MCS, 2019.

Smith, J. and Del Priore, G.  Women’s Cancers. A Patient’s Guide to Dealing with Cancer. London: Imperial, 2016.

Turkington, C. and Edelson, M. The Encyclopedia of Women’s Reproductive Cancer. NY: Facts on File, 2009.

Vaginal cancer (web page)

 

VULVAR CANCER

Signs of possible vulvar cancer include these.

Vulva
  • A lump in or on the vulvar area or groin.
  • A patch of skin that is differently textured or colored than the rest of the vulvar area.
  • Persistent itching, pain, soreness, or burning in the vulvar area.
  • Painful urination.
  • Bleeding or discharge that is not menstrual blood.
  • An ulcer that lasts for more than one month.
  • A change in the look of an existing mole.
  • Wart-like growths.

Resources

Burrows, L. and Heller, D. 100 Questions & Answers about Vulvar Cancer. Sudbury, MA: Jones, 2010.

CDC. Vaginal and Vulvar Cancers. Atlanta: CDC, 2009.

Macmillan Cancer Support (MCS). Body Image and Cancer. London: MCS, 2016.

________. How Are You Feeling? The Emotional Effects of Cancer. London: MCS, 2019.

Parker, P. and Parker, J. The Official Patient’s Sourcebook on Vulvar Cancer. Icon, 2007.

Vulvar cancer (web page)

 

III. Resources: Readings

These readings and are for patients, their loved ones, and anyone else wanting to learn more about cancer. (They don’t deal with drinking alcohol and cancer risk.)

A. Books on Dealing with Cancer

alcohol and cancer riskDreyer, Z. Living with Cancer. NY: Facts on File, 2008. (Juven. read.)

Hoffman, B. A Cancer Survivor’s Almanac: Charting Your Journey. NY: Wiley, 2004.

Holford, P. and Efiong, L. Say No to Cancer. The Drug-free Guide to Preventing and Helping Fight Cancer. London: Piatkus, 2010.

Katz, A. This Should Not be Happening. Young Adults with Cancer. Pittsburgh: Hygenia, 2014.

Libov, C. Cancer Survival Guide. How to Conquer It and Lead a Good Life. NY: Humanix, 2016.

Macmillan Cancer Support (MCS). Coping with Advanced Cancer. London: MCS, 2019.

________. A Practical Guide to Living with and After Cancer. London: MCS, 2017. 8th ed.

________. How Are You Feeling? The Emotional Effects of Cancer.

________. Coping with Advanced Cancer. London: MCS, 2019.

________. Body Image and Cancer. London: MCS, 2016.

________. Talking with Someone with Cancer. London: MCS, 2019.

Marshall, J. Surviving Cancer as a Family. Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2010.

Peterson, S. It Isn’t Ugly Forever: a To-do List for Fighting Cancer. Columbia, SC: Peterson, 2018.

Rawls, G., et al. Managing Cancer. The African American’s Guide. Roscoe, IL: Hilton, 2001.

Silver, J. What Helped Get Me Through. Cancer Survivors Share Wisdom and Hope. Atlanta: ACS, 2009.

Smith, J. and Del Priore, G.  Women’s Cancers. A Patient’s Guide to Dealing with Cancer. London: Imperial, 2016.

Visel, D. Living with Cancer. A Practical Guide. New Brunswick: RU Press, 2008.

B. Other Informational Books

Cancer Sourcebook. Basic Consumer Health Information. Detroit, Omni, 2018.

Cicala, R. The Cancer Pain Sourcebook. NY: McGraw-Hill, 2002.

Elit, L. Women and Cancer. NY: Nova, 2007.

Jones, K. Cancer Sourcebook for Women. Detroit: 2015.

Kushi, M. and Jack, A. The Cancer Prevention Diet. NY: St. Martin’s, 2009.

Kwabi-Addo, B. and Lindstrom, T. Cancer Causes and Controversies. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2011.

Macmillan Cancer Support (MCS). Making Treatment Decisions. London: MCS, 2018.

Medical Tests Sourcebook: Basic Consumer Health Information. Detroit: Omni, 2018.

Note: Suggestions for materials to add to Alcohol and Cancer Risk? If so, please contact Hansondj[at sign]potsdam[period]edu/. Thanks for your interest and help!