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July 22, 2016 | 1 minute read

New review, alcohol increases risk of 7 cancers

A new analysis of the evidence that uses AICR research concludes that alcohol links to increased risk of seven types of cancers, causing almost half a million deaths from cancer in 2012. The review, published today in the journal Addiction, supports AICR’s findings.

The new review concluded that alcohol consumption linked to cancers of the: breast; pharynx; larynx; esophagus; liver; colon; and rectum. (AICR evidence also shows a link with alcohol and stomach cancer.)

AICR’s Recommendations for Cancer Prevention say that if you do drink alcohol, drink moderate amounts. (1 glass for women daily; 2 for men).


The evidence in the new article comes from an author’s comprehensive reviews of the major analyses over the past decade, including from American Institute for Cancer Research and World Cancer Research Fund along with others.

 The review cites evidence that alcohol caused approximately half a million deaths from cancer in 2012, 5.8% of cancer deaths worldwide.
The highest risks are associated with the heaviest drinking, but a considerable burden is experienced by drinkers with low to moderate consumption. 

The review also finds the current evidence that moderate drinking provides protection against cardiovascular disease is not strong.

For more on alcohol and cancer risk, visit AICR’s Facts about Alcohol.

2 comments on “New review, alcohol increases risk of 7 cancers

  1. james o'brien on

    Seems to me that research always finds that something you enjoy doing is very good for you or very bad for you and that can change from one report to another. Best advice, which does not require a research study, is never avoid but never OD on alcohol, French fries, sex, red meat, poultry, talcum powder, chewing gum, good novels and vacations. I think it is called moderation.

    • Bob DiBenedetto on

      James… if you’re doing all those things you mentioned and add a moderate consumption of french fries, red meat, talcum powder, deli meats, hot dogs, white flour, refined sugars, sodas, etc., (to name a few) and moderately using pesticides on your lawn and chemicals on your trees, and moderately spraying for ants in your house, and moderately using endocrine disrupting cleaning products, and moderately applying chemical containing personal care products, and all the other things that increase our exposure to things that we know can do harm, then the truth is you’re engaging in activities at all times that can increase your risk of cancer and other diseases. The truth is that it’s hard to be moderate when it comes to the 10s of thousands of chemicals we regularly use.
      A more successful approach is to work on eliminating those things that are shown to raise your risk, perhaps one at a time, and obviously no faster than you’re able to maintain over the long term. The whole list can be daunting, but if you substitute one healthful behavior for a risky behavior every month, then by the end of the year you’ve come a long way. It can feel burdensome if you look at it as a constraint. But if you look at it as a process of substitution, vs cutting out, then it’s not a burden, but an opportunity that can give you a longer, more healthful life. And if you have kids, it’s even more worth the effort.
      I’m speaking as someone who has over the years already moved away from the vast majority of those items listed above, and who enjoys life as much as anybody I’ve ever met. So we really can have our whole grain, fruit sweetened cake, and eat it too!


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