740K Cancers Around the World Blamed on Drinking Alcohol

Study looked at how much people drank and then how many got sick a decade later
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2021 6:25 PM CDT
Study: Alcohol Causes 740K Cancers Around the World
File photo of a wine cellar.   (Christopher DeVargas /Las Vegas Sun via AP)

Have you been coping with pandemic stress with a glass of wine at night? A team of researchers has some unhappy news for you. In a study published Tuesday in the Lancet Oncology, scientists have linked even moderate drinking to cancer. The authors of the study wrote that they saw a need to “increase awareness of cancer risks associated with alcohol use.” The link between alcohol and cancer isn’t a new discovery. And the researchers didn’t attempt to figure out exactly how many deaths are due to alcohol, the Guardian reports. Instead, Harriet Rumgay of the International Agency for Research on Cancer in France and her fellow authors focused on how much people worldwide were drinking in 2010—it can take a decade for an alcohol-caused cancer to show up—and how many cancer cases there were in 2020.

The number they came up with was 741,300. Cancers that are apparently linked to alcohol include cancers of the breast, liver, esophagus, and colon, the researchers said. They found that people who drank heavily—six or more drinks per day—had the lion’s share of cancers. But people who drank half a beer or a small glass of wine every night also were more likely to get cancer. The team also looked at cancer types and broke results down by sex, CNN reports. (More alcohol stories.)

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