Alcohol Fueled 4% of Global Cancer Cases in 2020

Alcohol Fueled 4% of Global Cancer Cases in 2020

Researchers with the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) estimated that at least 741,300 of the roughly 19.3 million new global cancer diagnoses reported in 2020—4%—can be attributed to alcohol consumption. However, fewer than one in three U.S. citizens are aware that alcohol is a cancer risk factor, IARC researcher and study author Harriet Rumgay told NPR. Overall, those cancers included mouth cancer, liver cancer, colorectal cancer, laryngeal cancer and esophageal cancer; for women, however, alcohol also contributed significantly to breast cancer. “When we did the analysis and included former drinking, pancreatic [cancers] and stomach cancers, the numbers increased to 925,000 alcohol-related cancers,” Rumgay told NPR. In those Eastern European countries, new taxation policies have reduced alcohol sales, potentially forecasting a decrease in annual cancer diagnoses.

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