The study found that one in 25 cancer cases is alcohol-related

About 4% of cancer cases detected last year worldwide (or 740,000) are linked to alcohol consumption, including the average, according to estimates by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (CIRC).

Most (86%) of these alcohol-related cancers are related to “risky and excessive” consumption (more than two alcoholic drinks per day), according to the study.

But “light to moderate” consumption (up to two glasses of alcohol per day) still accounts for “one in seven cases attributable to alcohol, more than 100,000 new cases of cancer worldwide” in 2020, estimates the Circus-based On the World Health Organization (WHO).

Majority men

Published in the medical journal The Lancet Oncology, the study listed seven cancers whose risks are increased by alcohol consumption: the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, colon, rectum, liver, and breast in women (ie 6, 3 million cases in 2020). .

Crossing this with data on alcohol consumption by country ten years ago (by the time of disease onset), the researchers estimated that 741,300 of these cancers (or 4% of the total number of new cancer cases in the world in 2020) could be direct. related to alcohol.

According to Sirk, “In 2020, the types of cancers with the largest number of new cases associated with alcohol consumption were esophageal cancer (190 thousand cases), liver cancer (155,000 cases) and breast cancer. In women (98,000 cases)”. .

This percentage is estimated at 5% in France (20,000 cases), 4% in the United Kingdom (16,800), 3% in the United States (52,700) or even 4% in Germany (21,500).

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In addition, males account for about three-quarters of all alcohol-attributable cancer cases (567,000 cases).

The study has limitations, however, notes The Lancet Oncology. On the other hand, it does not take into account the interruption of care due to the Covid pandemic, which may have led to some cancers being undiagnosed in the past year.

On the other hand, it does not integrate interactions between alcohol consumption and other phenomena such as tobacco or obesity, to which cancers can also be attributed.


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