Alcohol Use and Cancer Risk

Alcohol is considered by the International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC) as a Group 1 carcinogen, suggesting the strongest level of evidence of linkage as a cause of cancer. AUD contribute to multiple cancers including aero-digestive (oropharynx, larynx, oesophagus), liver, colon, rectum, and breast, and is attributed as a cause in 5.8% of all cancers.  

The exact nature and distribution of cancer risk across alcohol intake patterns remain to be further defined for respective cancers. For some cancer types, there appears an increased risk even with light alcohol intake, perhaps most evident in the risk of breast cancer in women and colorectal cancer. There is a clear dose-dependent risk that is most apparent with a higher risk of cancers at higher levels of alcohol intake.   

Cessation of drinking should be encouraged in patients with cancers known to have an association, with risk reduction associated with cessation. 

Chapter Recommendation Grade of recommendation
22.17 Alcohol abstinence reduces the risk of cancer and improves outcomes after a diagnosis of cancer A