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April 13, 2023
1 in 25 newly diagnosed cancer cases in the last year may be associated with drinking alcohol, according to a global study published in The Lancet Oncology.
The study calculated that 17,000 cases of cancer in the UK in 2020 could be linked to alcohol consumption. The authors of the paper are calling for greater public awareness of the link between alcohol and cancers Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said: “This research demonstrates there’s still lots of work to do to prevent alcohol-related cancers. There’s strong evidence that drinking alcohol can cause 7 types of cancer and the more someone drinks, the greater their risk.”
Public awareness is low on this subject: one UK survey, in 2018, found only one in 10 people were aware that alcohol could cause cancer. Researchers say that needs to change. They revealed that in 2020 an estimated 741,300 cases of cancer, globally, were caused by alcohol. They suggested that alcohol labels should have cancer warnings, that there could be higher taxes on alcohol and that marketing of drinks could be reduced.
Harriet Rumgay, of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, in France, and a co-author of the study, said alcohol caused a substantial burden of cancer globally, and this was shown even at lower levels of drinking. “We urgently need to raise awareness about the link between alcohol consumption and cancer risk among policy makers and the general public. Public health strategies, such as reduced alcohol availability, labelling alcohol products with a health warning, and marketing bans could reduce rates of alcohol-driven cancer,” says researcher Harriet Rumgay of the International Agency for Research on Cancer in France in a media release.
“Tax and pricing policies that have led to decreased alcohol intake in Europe, including increased excise taxes and minimum unit pricing, could also be implemented in other world regions. Local context is essential for successful policy around alcohol consumption and will be key to reducing cancer cases linked to drinking.”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NEWS RND