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Home > Alcohol use and cancer in the European Union.

Rehm, Jürgen and Shield, Kevin D (2020) Alcohol use and cancer in the European Union. European Addiction Research , pp. 1-8. doi: 10.1159/000507017.

URL: https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/507017

BACKGROUND: Cancers constitute a major non-communicable disease category globally and in the European Union (EU).

SUMMARY: Alcohol use has been established as a major cause of cancer in humans. Principal cancer agencies agree that the following cancer sites are causally impacted by alcohol: lip and oral cavity, pharynx (excluding nasopharynx), oesophagus, colon and rectum, liver, (female) breast, and larynx. For all of these cancer sites, there is a dose-response relationship with no apparent threshold: the higher the average level of consumption, the higher the risk of cancer incidence. In the EU in 2016, about 80,000 people died of alcohol-attributable cancer, and about 1.9 million years of life were lost due to premature mortality or due to disability. Key messages: Given the above-described impact of alcohol on cancer, public awareness about the alcohol-cancer link needs to be increased. In addition, effective alcohol policy measures should be implemented. As a large part of alcohol-attributable cancers are in low and moderate alcohol users, in particular for females, general population measures such as increases in taxation, restrictions on availability, and bans on marketing and advertisement are best suited to reduce the alcohol-attributable cancer burden.


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