A new study, published in the Lancet, has revealed that alcohol consumption is linked to an increased risk of alcohol-related cancer. Alcohol consumption is proposed to be the third most important modifiable risk factor for death and disability.
However, alcohol consumption has been associated with both benefits and harms, and previous studies were mostly done in high-income countries.
The research participants consisted of 114 970 adults, of whom 12 904 (11%) were from HICs, 24 408 (21%) were from UMICs, 48 845 (43%) were from LMICs, and 28 813 (25%) were from LICs.
Current drinking was reported by 36 030 (31%) individuals. The data came from 12 countries participating in the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study, a prospective cohort study of individuals aged 35-70 years.
The high-income countries (HICs) were Sweden and Canada; upper-middle-income countries (UMICs) were Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Poland, South Africa, and Turkey; lower-middle-income countries (LMICs) were China and Colombia; and LICs were India and Zimbabwe.
“More than sufficient evidence is available for governments to give increased public health priority to reducing alcohol-related disease burden in low-income and middle-income countries. This should be done by implementing the most effective population policies to discourage harmful drinking – namely, increasing the price of alcohol and reducing its availability, especially to younger drinkers, and preventing the alcohol industry from promotion of frequent drinking to intoxication”, said Dr Jason Connor of the Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research, University of Queensland, and Professor Wayne Hall of the Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia and National Addiction Centre, Kings College London, UK.
“Alcohol consumption and cardiovascular disease, cancer, injury, admission to hospital, and mortality: a prospective cohort study, Dr Andrew Smyth, PhD, Prof Koon K Teo, PhD, Sumathy Rangarajan, MSc, Martin O’Donnell, PhD, Xiaohe Zhang, MSc, Punam Rana, MD, Darryl P Leong, PhD, Prof Gilles Dagenais, MD, Pamela Seron, MSc, Prof Annika Rosengren, PhD, Prof Aletta E Schutte, PhD, Prof Patricio Lopez-Jaramillo, PhD, Prof Ayetkin Oguz, MD, Jephat Chifamba, MPhil, Rafael Diaz, MD, Prof Scott Lear, PhD, Alvaro Avezum, PhD, Rajesh Kumar, MD, Viswanathan Mohan, MD, Prof Andrzej Szuba, PhD, Li Wei, PhD, Wang Yang, MD, Bo Jian, BSc, Prof Martin McKee, DSc, Prof Salim Yusuf, DPhil on behalf of the PURE Investigators, The Lancet, doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)00235-4, published online 16 September 2015.