Home > Statement on consumption of alcoholic beverages and risk of cancer.

Committee on Carcinogenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment. [Public Health England] (2016) Statement on consumption of alcoholic beverages and risk of cancer. London: Public Health England. 69 p. Statement 2015/S2

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The Committee on Carcinogenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COC), is a UK committee of independent experts which advises the Department of Health, the Food Standards Agency and other government departments and agencies on the likelihood of cancer of chemicals found in food, consumer products and the environment. The COC has previously looked at whether drinking alcohol in alcoholic beverages causes cancer, and in 2013 it decided to look at the new evidence.

Drinking alcohol has been shown to increase the risk (or chance) of getting some types of cancer. This does not mean that everyone who drinks alcohol will get cancer, but studies have shown that some cancers are more common in people who drink more alcohol.

The World Health Organisation’s ‘International Agency for Research on Cancer’ (IARC) considers that drinking alcohol increases the risk of getting cancers of the mouth (oral cavity) and throat (pharynx), voice box (larynx), gullet (oesophagus), large bowel (colorectum) and liver, of breast cancer in women, and probably also of cancer of the pancreas. IARC made its most recent conclusions about alcohol and cancer after reviewing information that was available up to 2009.

We have reviewed new information on alcohol and cancer that has become available since the 2009 IARC review. There are some limitations to the conclusions that we were able to make, because of the different ways research studies record data such as whether or not someone has a particular cancer and how much alcohol a person drinks. Overall, our findings support the view that drinking alcohol increases the risk of getting cancers of the mouth and throat, voice box, gullet, large bowel, liver, of breast cancer in women, and probably also of cancer of the pancreas.


Item Type:Evidence resource
Publication Type:Report
Drug Type:Alcohol
Intervention Type:AOD disorder
Source:Public Health England
Date:2016
Pages:69 p.
Publisher:Public Health England
Corporate Creators:Committee on Carcinogenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment
Place of Publication:London
EndNote:View
Subjects:A Substance use, abuse, and dependence > Prevalence > Substance use behaviour > Alcohol consumption
A Substance use, abuse, and dependence > Effects and consequences
B Substances > Alcohol
G Health and disease > State of health > Physical health
G Health and disease > Pathologic process > Cancer
VA Geographic area > Europe > United Kingdom

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