New Report Shows Alcohol Consumption Is Linked to Cancer Incidence and Mortality in All 50 States

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A new study has found that alcohol consumption accounts for a considerable portion of cancer incidence and mortality in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The article, published by Sauer et al in Cancer Epidemiology, stated that the proportion of cancer cases attributable to alcohol consumption ranged from a high of 6.7% in Delaware to a low of 2.9% in Utah. Similarly, Delaware had the highest proportion of alcohol-related cancer deaths (4.5%) and Utah had the lowest (1.9%).

This study is the first to estimate contemporary proportions and counts of alcohol-attributable cancer cases and deaths for all states. Data show the proportions were generally higher in New England and Western states, and lower in Midwestern and Southern states.

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“This information is important for prioritizing state-level cancer prevention and control efforts to reduce alcohol consumption and the burden of alcohol-related cancers,” said senior study author Farhad Islami, MD, PhD.

The proportion of alcohol-related cancers was far greater for some individual cancer types. For oral cavity/oropharyngeal cancer cases, for example, it ranged from 36% in Utah to 62.5% in Delaware, and was 45% 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 United States on average, alcohol consumption accounted for 4.8% of cancer cases and 3.2% of cancer deaths, or about 75,200 cancer cases and 18,950 cancer deaths annually, during the time period of 2013 to 2016.

In addition, the authors said, “Health-care providers and public health practitioners can educate the community to expand the currently limited awareness of the cancer-related risks of alcohol consumption.”

The American Cancer Society’s guideline for Diet and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention states that it is best not to consume alcohol; for those who do drink, consumption should be limited to no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.