Alcohol Causes 20,000 Cancer Deaths in the U.S. Annually
Smoking often gets the attention, but new research shows alcohol is one of leading causes of preventable cancer deaths in the U.S.
A new study published in the April 2013 issue of the American Journal of Public Health shows that about 20,000 cancer deaths in the U.S. a year — about 3.5 percent of all cancer-related deaths — are caused by alcohol consumption.
“The relationship between alcohol and cancer is strong, but is not widely appreciated by the public and remains underemphasized even by physicians,” senior author Dr. Timothy Naimi, an associate professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, said in a press release. “Alcohol is a big preventable cancer risk factor that has been hiding in plain sight.”
The World Health Organization has labeled alcohol as the world’s third largest risk factor for disease burden, saying it can cause neuropsychiatric disorders and other chronic diseases such as heart diseases, cirrhosis of the liver and various cancers. It added that 30 percent of cancer deaths are caused by five behavioral and dietary factors, including high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use and alcohol use.