When you include the American Institute for Cancer Research in your estate plans, you make a major difference in the fight against cancer.

Corporate Champions who partner with the American Institute for Cancer Research stand at the forefront of the fight against cancer

The Continuous Update Project (CUP) is an ongoing program that analyzes global research on how diet, nutrition and physical activity affect cancer risk and survival.

A major milestone in cancer research, the Third Expert Report analyzes and synthesizes the evidence gathered in CUP reports and serves as a vital resource for anyone interested in preventing cancer.

Whether you are a healthcare provider, a researcher, or just someone who wants to learn more about cancer prevention, we’re here to help.

AICR has pushed research to new heights, and has helped thousands of communities better understand the intersection of lifestyle, nutrition, and cancer.

Read real-life accounts of how AICR is changing lives through cancer prevention and survivorship.

We bring a detailed policy framework to our advocacy efforts, and provide lawmakers with the scientific evidence they need to achieve our objectives.

AICR champions research that increases understanding of the relationship between nutrition, lifestyle, and cancer.

AICR’s resources can help you navigate questions about nutrition and lifestyle, and empower you to advocate for your health.

AICR is committed to putting what we know about cancer prevention into action. To help you live healthier, we’ve taken the latest research and made 10 Cancer Prevention Recommendations.

This content was last updated on January 22, 2020

The Cancer Research

Research shows that drinking alcohol increases the risk of many forms of cancer. The extent to which alcoholic drinks are a cause of various cancers depends on the amount and frequency of alcohol consumed.

There is a consistent link with increased cancer risk and alcohol, regardless of whether it’s beer, wine, or distilled liquor. You may hear about red wine containing healthy compounds, such as resveratrol. But risk comes from alcohol (ethanol) itself and among wine drinkers, the risk doesn’t vary by whether drinking red or white.

A standard drink is defined by the amount of alcohol it contains, not by what fits in a glass. In general, one drink translates to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or a 1½-shot of distilled spirits. But some brands are more concentrated in alcohol, making the amount of alcohol you drink add up fast.

 

There is strong evidence that consuming Alcohol INCREASES the risk of:

  • Breast Cancer
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Esophageal Cancer
  • Liver Cancer
  • Mouth, Pharynx, and Larynx Cancer
  • Stomach Cancer

Interpreting the data

Strong evidence shows that as alcohol consumption increases, it increases the risk of many forms of cancer. This includes cancers of the breast, colorectum, esophagus (squamous cell), stomach, liver, mouth, pharynx, and larynx.

Research has identified several mechanisms that could explain the link between alcohol and increased risk of cancer:

  • In your body, alcohol is metabolized to a compound called acetaldehyde, which is a recognized human carcinogen (capable of causing cancer). Cancer-causing damage could come from acetaldehyde disrupting DNA and from free radicals produced during alcohol metabolism.
  • Human intervention trials and observational studies both link alcohol consumption with higher circulating levels of estrogen. Alcohol increases the risk of all forms of breast cancer, and risk is particularly increased for estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer, which is the most common form.
  • Alcohol can cause tissue damage, or increase the ability of carcinogens to do damage, in the mouth, pharynx, esophagus, colon and liver.
  • Alcoholic beverages are a concentrated source of calories that can contribute to weight gain. Excess weight and weight gain increase the risk of at least 12 forms of cancer.
Source: AICR/WCRF. Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer: A Global Perspective, 2018.

Conclusions from AICR/WCRF Third Expert report

*After a systematic review of the global scientific literature, AICR/WCRF analyzed how alcohol affects the risk of developing cancer.

  • Evidence categorized as “convincing” is the strongest, and means that research shows a causal relationship to cancer – either decreasing or increasing risk – that is considered unlikely to change with additional studies. The research must include quality studies that meet specific criteria and biological explanations for the findings.
  • Evidence categorized as “probable” means there is strong research showing a causal relationship to cancer—either decreasing or increasing the risk. The research must include quality human studies that meet specific criteria and biological explanations for the findings.
  • A “convincing” and “probable” judgment is strong enough to justify recommendations.
  • Evidence categorized as “limited suggestive” means results are generally consistent in overall conclusions, but it’s rarely strong enough to justify recommendations to reduce the risk of cancer.
  • Limited evidence suggests that alcohol may INCREASE the risk of
  • Lung and pancreatic cancers

 

References

  1. IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risk to Humans. Personal Habits and Indoor Combustions. (IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, No. 100E.) CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES. Lyon (FR): International Agency for Research on Cancer;2012.
  2. LoConte NK, Brewster AM, Kaur JS, Merrill JK, Alberg AJ. Alcohol and Cancer: A Statement of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. J Clin Oncol. 2018;36(1):83-93.
  3. Norat T, Chan D, Vingeliene S, et al. The Associations Between Food, Nutrition and Physical Activity and the Risk of Breast Cancer. WCRF/AICR Systematic Literature Review Continuous Update Project Report. London: World Cancer Research Fund / American Institute for Cancer Research;2017.
  4. Shield KD, Soerjomataram I, Rehm J. Alcohol Use and Breast Cancer: A Critical Review. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2016;40(6):1166-1181.
  5. World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute of Cancer Research. Continuous Update Project Expert Report 2018. Alcoholic drinks and the risk of cancer. Available at dietandcancerreport.org.
  6. Scoccianti C, Cecchini M, Anderson AS, et al. European Code against Cancer 4th Edition: Alcohol drinking and cancer. Cancer Epidemiol. 2015;39 Suppl 1:S67-74.
  7. Chen WY, Rosner B, Hankinson SE, Colditz GA, Willett WC. Moderate alcohol consumption during adult life, drinking patterns, and breast cancer risk. Jama. 2011;306(17):1884-1890.
  8. World Cancer Research Fund / American Institute for Cancer Research. Continuous Update Project Expert Report 2018. Diet, nutrition, physical activity and breast cancer. Available at: dietandcancerreport.org.
  9. Mehta LS, Watson KE, Barac A, et al. Cardiovascular Disease and Breast Cancer: Where These Entities Intersect: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2018.
  10. Scoccianti C, Cecchini M, Anderson AS, et al. European Code against Cancer 4th Edition: Alcohol drinking and cancer. Cancer Epidemiol. 2016;45:181-188.
  11. Mozaffarian D. Dietary and Policy Priorities for Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, and Obesity: A Comprehensive Review. Circulation. 2016;133(2):187-225.
  12. Kushi LH, Doyle C, McCullough M, et al. American Cancer Society Guidelines on nutrition and physical activity for cancer prevention: reducing the risk of cancer with healthy food choices and physical activity. CA Cancer J Clin. 2012;62(1):30-67.
  13. Bagnardi V, Rota M, Botteri E, et al. Alcohol consumption and site-specific cancer risk: a comprehensive dose-response meta-analysis. Br J Cancer. 2015;112(3):580-593.
  14. Allen NE, Beral V, Casabonne D, et al. Moderate alcohol intake and cancer incidence in women. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2009;101(5):296-305.

 

 

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