Alcohol causes cancer

A new study published by monthly scientific journal Addiction has concluded that evidence for alcohol causing cancer is strong for seven types of cancers. Published July 21, the study reviewed the last 10 years of research on alcohol and cancer from the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the Global Burden of Disease Alcohol Group, and other sources.

The study found epidemiological evidence indicates that alcohol causes cancer of the oropharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum and breast. The study also found evidence that risk of laryngeal, pharyngeal and liver cancers fall when consumption ceases. Another conclusion: skepticism is warranted regarding the claims that drinking is good for your heart.

The study has cited alcohol as the cause of approximately half a million deaths from cancer in 2012, or 5.8% of cancer deaths worldwide. Other findings: heavy drinkers are the most likely to be affected, but most cancer develops in drinkers with low to moderate consumption.

The story has been picked up by a number of major news outlets, including the Guardian in the UK, and Forbes in the US. With a stronger causal link between alcohol and cancer, it should be interesting to see if the findings will have any impact on the consumption of alcohol or delivery of health services in either country.

Addiction is a monthly international scientific journal publishing peer-reviewed research reports on alcohol, illicit drugs, tobacco, and gambling as well as editorials and other debate pieces. Owned by the Society for the Study of Addiction, it has been in continuous publication since 1884. The journal is ranked first in the 2016 ISI Journal Citation Reports ranking in the substance abuse category for both science and social science editions.

For the eager, the full research paper has been made available for public scrutiny for the next month. For a simplified summary of the research, check out the press release.

 

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