Alcohol major contributor to cancer deaths in the US.

New findings published in the April 2013 issue of the American Journal of Public Health, have shown that alcohol is a major contributor to cancer deaths and years of potential life lost.

The research originates from the Boston University School of Medicine and Boston University School of Public Health points to a direct causal link of alcohol a known carcinogen even when imbibed in small quantities and the risk of developing cancer.

Prior risk studies have demonstrated that alcohol consumption is a significant risk factor for cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus and liver, while more recent research has shown that alcohol also increases the risk of cancers of the colon, rectum and female breast.

Timothy Naimi, MD, MPH, from the Department of Medicine at BUSM and colleagues from the National Cancer Institute, the Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health estimated that breast cancer was the most common cause of alcohol-attributable cancer deaths in women, accounting for approximately 6,000 deaths annually, or about 15 percent of all breast cancer deaths. Cancers of the mouth, throat and esophagus were common causes of alcohol-attributable cancer mortality in men, resulting in a total of about 6,000 annual deaths.

The researcher examined recent data from the U.S. on alcohol consumption and cancer mortality. They found that alcohol resulted in approximately 20,000 cancer deaths annually, accounting for about 3.5 percent of all cancer deaths in the U.S.

Among the sexes, breast cancer was the most common cause of alcohol-attributable cancer deaths in women, accounting for approximately 6,000 deaths annually, or about 15 percent of all breast cancer deaths. Cancers of the mouth, throat and esophagus were common causes of alcohol-attributable cancer mortality in men, resulting in a total of about 6,000 annual deaths.

The researchers also found that each alcohol-related cancer death accounted for an average of 18 years of potential life lost. In addition, although higher levels of alcohol consumption led to a higher cancer risk, average consumption of 1.5 drinks per day or less accounted for 30 percent of all alcohol-attributable cancer deaths.

Source

American Journal of Public Health.

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