Alcohol consumption increases cancer risk

Alcohol abuse has a major impact on public health. It is ranked as the fifth leading risk factor for premature death and disability in the world.

Drinking moderately is key in reducing cancer risk. However, trends indicate an increase in alcohol consumption in recent decades, mostly in developing countries.

Short-term effects include a direct impact on mood, concentration, judgment and coordination (alcohol is a common cause of motor vehicle accidents and other forms of injury).

Long-term health effects of alcohol have been clearly established. Research has indicated that men who have 2 alcoholic drinks/ day and women who have 1 already have an increased chance of developing certain cancers. The more alcohol a person consumes, the higher the risk. Furthermore, risks due to alcohol use also vary depending the type of cancer. The strongest association is found between alcohol and mouth, oesophageal, laryngeal, pharyngeal, breast and liver cancers. People who drink heavily in combination with smoking are even at higher risk for most of these cancers.