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Alcohol consumption increases cancer, mortality risks

Researchers in the United States (U.S.) have found that alcohol consumption accounted for a considerable portion of cancer incidence and mortality in all 50 states of America and the District of Columbia. According to an article published in ‘Cancer Epidemiology,’ the proportion of cancer cases attributable to alcohol consumption ranged from a high of 6.7 per cent in Delaware to a low of 2.9 per cent in Utah. Similarly, Delaware had the highest proportion of alcohol- related cancer deaths (4.5 per cent) and Utah had the lowest (1.9 per cent).

The study conducted by Farhad Islami, MD, PhD, and colleagues at the American Cancer Society, called for the implementation of policies and cancer control efforts to reduce alcohol consumption. Data from the research, showed that the proportions of alcohol related cancers were generally higher in New England and Western states and lower in Midwestern and Southern states.

“This information is important for prioritising state-level cancer prevention and control efforts to reduce alcohol consumption and the burden of alcohol-related cancers,” said Islami. The proportion of alcohol- related cancers was far greater for some individual cancer types. For oral cavity/pharyngeal cancer cases, for example, it ranged from 36 per cent in Utah to 62.5 per cent in Delaware and was 45 per cent or more in 45 states and the District of Columbia. By sex, alcohol-related cancer cases and deaths for most evaluated cancer types were higher among men, in part reflecting higher levels of alcohol consumption among men.

In the U.S. on average, alcohol consumption accounted for 4.8 per cent of cancer cases and 3.2 per cent of cancer deaths, or about 75,200 cancer cases and 18,950 cancer deaths annually, during 2013 to 2016, the Cancer Health’ reported.

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