Alcoholic beverages can cause cancer. It is something in contrast to scienceHowever, most people do not know this, nor do governments act with the necessary strength. A new study has just updated this direct relationship after analyzing data from the last decade: worldwide, alcohol was responsible for approximately 740,000 tumors in 2020 alone. This means that more than 4% of global cancers are caused by alcohol consumption and are therefore completely ruled out. and can be prevented.
Studies, published in Oncology lancets, points to important differences by region and gender: three out of four alcohol cancers suffered by men and the most affected areas of the planet are the Far East Central and Eastern Europe. For example, in Mongolia, alcohol causes 10% of tumors, in Romania 7% and in China and Russia around 6%. In Spain, 4.4% of tumors diagnosed in 2020 are caused by alcohol, which is a total of 11,600 diseases.
“Our study highlights the contribution of relatively low levels of alcohol consumption to cancer rates, as far as”
Harriet Rumgay, International Agency for Research on Cancer
Those responsible for the study are calling on the authorities to take more action against the problem, as stressed by author Harriet Rumgay of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC): . The local context is essential for a successful alcohol policy and will be key to reducing drinking-related cancers. “
Rumgay recalls that not only do people who drink the most suffer from cancer: “Our study highlights the contribution of relatively low levels of alcohol consumption to cancer rates in terms of cancer, but also suggests that small changes in public drinking behavior could have positive impact on the future incidence of cancer “. According to data provided in the study, almost 15% of global cancers caused by alcohol intake suffer from moderate drinkers, ie people who drink less than two beers a day. In total, more than 100,000 people discovered cancer in 2020.
“There is no safe alcohol consumption.” Between 4% and 5% of cancers in the world are caused by alcohol, that’s clear. “
Álvaro Rodríguez-Lescure, President of the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology
In a global context, this is information that requires action. Because sales data assume that all people over the age of 15 consume an average of one alcoholic beverage per day. But because only half of adults drink, it means that real drinkers consume at least two drinks a day, explains researcher Amy Justice of Yale University. in the article which accompanies the study in Oncology lancets. Enough for the risk of cancer from these drinks, no matter what many other conditions associated with his incomesuch as cardiovascular, mental, liver disease and alcoholism.
For Álvaro Rodríguez-Lescure, President of the Spanish Society for Medical Oncology (SEOM), the main conclusion of this study is that “There is no safe alcohol consumption.” “There is no consumption threshold from which the risk begins or disappears.” Obviously, there is a dose-effect relationship: the higher the intake, the greater the risk. However, there are also milder incomes, “says Rodríguez-Lescure, who did not participate in the study.
“Adding cancer warnings to labels, like tobacco, could discourage people from buying alcohol.”
Studied at The Lancet Oncology
The oncologist regrets that the population does not know enough about this direct link between alcoholic beverages and cancers of the breast, mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus, liver, colon and rectum. The authors of the study analyzed the incidence of these types of cancer in regions and countries along with alcohol consumption in the same areas since 2010, which is the time needed for the tumor to develop as a result of this habit (so a pandemic would play no role yet). “Between 4% and 5% of the world’s cancers are caused by alcohol, so clear,” said SEOM President. And the moat: “They can be avoided.”
The authors of the work insist on this: governments must act. They point to strategies for public health, reducing the availability of alcohol, fiscal measures, warnings and even marketing bans. “The general public is very unaware of the relationship between alcohol risk and cancer, but adding cancer warnings to alcohol labels similar to those used on tobacco could discourage people from buying products,” the study suggests. The alcohol industry is determined to confuse the population with this risk.
The only good news from the work is that it would reduce the proportion of cancer caused by alcoholic beverages, judging by the results of other similar previous studies: it was calculated that in 2012 it caused 5.5% of cancer cases, 4, 8% of cancer deaths in 2016 and 4.9% of these deaths in 2019. Overall, there was a worldwide decrease in alcohol-related cancer deaths of 5.5% between 2000 and 2016. Rumgay, and LancetHe warns against triumphalism: “Trends suggest that although per capita alcohol consumption is declining in many European countries, alcohol consumption is rising in Asian countries such as China and India, and in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, there is evidence that the covid-19 pandemic has increased alcohol consumption in some countries. “