Does Alcohol Use Affect Cancer Risk?
Purpose of Review
To provide an overview of the risk relationships between alcohol use and cancer and of the alcohol-attributable cancer burden; to highlight areas of controversy in the alcohol–cancer relationship; to examine the reasons why these risk relationships have not received greater public attention.
In 2016, alcohol caused an estimated 376,200 cancer deaths, 10.0 million cancer years of life lost (YLLs), 236,600 cancer years lived with disability (YLDs), and 10.3 million cancer disability-adjusted years of life (DALYs), representing 4.2%, 4.2%, 4.6%, and 4.2% of all deaths, YLLs, YLDs, and DALYs lost due to cancer, respectively, proportionally highest in high- and upper–middle–income countries.
Alcohol use is a major contributor to cancer and is linked to the most prevalent types of cancer. No threshold for the effects of alcohol on cancer has yet been identified, and thus, abstinence is best for cancer prevention. Greater public awareness of the relationship between alcohol use and cancer is advisable.
KeywordsAlcohol Acetaldehyde Cancer Mortality Burden of disease Public perception
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Jürgen Rehm, Isabelle Soerjomataram, Carina Ferreira-Borges, and Kevin D. Shield declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
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