How Is Cancer Linked to Alcohol Consumption?
A study published in "The Lancet Oncology" found that 4% of last year's cancer cases are attributed to alcohol consumption, with Mongolia in the lead and Kuwait in last place, and with men accounting for most of these cases.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer in France announced on Wednesday that close to 4% of cancer cases (740,000 cases) discovered around the world last year were linked to alcohol use, including moderate consumption. Mongolia had the highest proportion of alcohol-related cases, while Kuwait sat at the bottom.
The study found that most of these alcohol-related cancers, specifically 86%, were related to risky and heavy drinking, meaning more than two drinks per day. However, moderate drinking was also found to account for "1 out of 7" of the total of alcohol-caused cases, meaning 103,100 cases.
The agency's Dr. Isabelle Soerjomataram said these numbers highlight "the need for implementation of effective policy and interventions to increase public awareness of the link between alcohol use and cancer risk and decrease overall alcohol consumption to prevent the burden of alcohol-attributable cancers."
Medical journal "The Lancet Oncology" showed a study revealing that the risks of 7 cancers are increased due to alcohol consumption: lip and oral cavity cancer, pharyngeal cancer, oesophageal cancer, colon cancer, liver cancer, laryngeal cancer, and breast cancer in women ( they totaled up to 6.3 million cases in 2020, and resulted in 3.3 million deaths).
Researchers linked these statistics with alcohol consumption in all countries over a 10-year period and concluded that "741,300 of all new cases of cancer in 2020 were attributable to alcohol consumption."
Most new alcohol-related cases were registered as esophageal cancer (190,000 cases), liver cancer (155,000 cases), and breast cancer (98,000 cases).
The highest of alcohol-attributable cases were registered in Mongolia at 10% of cases, and the lowest in Kuwait at a little over 0%, as alcohol consumption is banned there.
The UK had an estimated 4% of cancer cases linked to alcohol (16,800), with the United States at 3% (52,700), Brazil at 4% (20,500), India at 5% (62,100), China at 6% (282,300), Germany at 4% (21,500) and France at 5% (20,000 cases).
"The Lancet Oncology" takes into account two flaws that may influence the paper's findings, saying it is "important to consider the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic when estimating health outcomes for the year 2020." The second is that "Ethanol might also promote cancer development indirectly by acting as a solvent for other carcinogenic agents such as chemicals in tobacco," meaning that the effect of those agents may also influence the study.