The word “glow” and the word “cancer” don’t usually appear in the same sentence. But then again I had never heard the expression “Asian glow” before I read the articles linked and excerpted below. I did know that esophageal cancer was one of the deadliest types of cancer. I just didn’t know that one’s face could be a tell-tale sign.
The really interesting thing about the Asian glow is a combination of two key issues in cancer-
If you consume alcohol and your face glows, well, don’t risk it- stop drinking. Esophageal cancer is serious.
For more information about both conventional and non-conventional therapies for esophageal cancer, scroll down the page, post a question or a comment and I will reply ASAP.
“Upon consuming alcoholic beverages, hundreds of millions of people of East Asian ethnicity exhibit a facial flushing reaction that is more commonly referred to as the “Asian glow.” The majority of those who experience the glow, which is a result of an inherited deficiency of the enzyme ALDH2 (aldehyde dehydrogenase 2), consider it a cosmetic problem (1)…
However, recent scientific studies have suggested that ALDH2-deficient individuals who habitually drink alcoholic beverages are at high risk of developing squamous cell esophageal cancer–one of the deadliest cancers in the world (2). In the future, these new findings could ultimately predict an extremely dangerous health problem as levels of alcohol consumption in countries such as China continue to increase (3)…
An Emerging Problem in Global Health
The implications of acetaldehyde-induced esophageal cancer are becoming more troublesome as levels of alcohol consumption in East Asia continue to rise in the 21st century. Although the per capita alcohol consumption in Korea has been declining in recent years, consumption in China has multiplied nine times since 1961 (Figure 5). Similarly, Japan’s alcohol consumption has quadrupled in the past fifty years (1). This is perhaps a function of industrialization, globalization, and rapidly expanding consumer markets in these East Asian nations…
Five-year survival rates for esophageal cancer are 15.6% in the United States, 12.3% in Europe, and 31.6% in Japan (1). Japan may have the highest survival rates because hospitals are probably screening for esophageal cancer more frequently and therefore catching it at earlier stages of development. However, if alcohol consumption continues to increase in countries such as China and Japan in the 21st century, then the number of deadly acetaldehyde-related esophageal squamous cell carcinomas could rise to unprecedented numbers…
“The flushing response, which may be accompanied by nausea and a rapid heartbeat, is caused mainly by an inherited deficiency in an enzyme called ALDH2, a trait shared by more than a third of people of East Asian ancestry — Japanese, Chinese or Koreans. As little as half a bottle of beer can trigger the reaction.
The deficiency results in problems in metabolizing alcohol, leading to an accumulation in the body of a toxin called acetaldehyde. People with two copies of the gene responsible have such unpleasant reactions that they are unable to consume large amounts of alcohol. This aversion actually protects them against the increased risk for cancer.
But those with only one copy can develop a tolerance to acetaldehyde and become heavy drinkers.
“What we’re trying to do here is raise awareness of this risk factor among doctors and their ALDH2-deficient patients,” said Dr. Philip J. Brooks, an investigator with the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and an author of the report published on Monday in the journal PLoS Medicine. “It’s a pretty serious risk.”