Strong evidence that alcohol causes cancer at seven sites in the body
There is strong epidemiological evidence that alcohol causes cancer at seven sites in the body and probably others, says a new study in the latest issue of the journal Addiction reported 21st July, 2016. These sites include oropharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum and female breast.
A "dose-response relationship" between alcohol and cancer was observed for all these cancers, where the increase in cancer risk with increased average consumption is monotonic, either linear or exponential, without evidence of threshold of effect. The beverage type did not appear to influence any variation.
The strength of the association with alcohol varies by site of the cancer, being particularly strong for mouth, pharynx and esophagus (relative risk in the range of 4–7 for ≥ 50 g of alcohol per day compared with no drinking) and less so for colorectal cancer, liver and breast cancer (relative risk approximately 1.5 for ≥ 50 g/day). Alcohol-attributable cancers at these sites were estimated to make up 5.8% of all cancer deaths globally.
These conclusions are based on comprehensive reviews undertaken in the last decade by the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the Global Burden of Disease Alcohol Group including a comprehensive dose–response meta-analysis published last year in the British Journal of cancer.