New research shows that alcohol causes cancer at seven sites in the body, and is linked to a large percentage of cancer deaths globally.
The research was conducted by Jennie Connor from Department of Preventive and Social Medicine at the University of Otago.
Her research found that alcohol causes cancer of the oropharynx, larynx, oesophagus, liver, colon, rectum, and breast.
“Current estimates suggest that alcohol-attributable cancers at these sites make up 5.8% of all cancer deaths worldwide,” said Conner.
Alcohol is estimated to have caused approximately half a million deaths from cancer in 2012.
The highest risks are associated with heavy drinking, but a considerable burden is also experienced by drinkers with low to moderate consumption.
The stakes are high for alcohol industries
Conner warned there will be attempts to discredit research which shows that alcohol causes cancer.
“The stakes are high for alcohol industries when there is no argument, on current evidence, for a safe level of drinking with respect to cancer,” she said.
“The large multinational alcohol corporations have virtually unlimited resources available to tackle commercials threats, and cannot be expected to step back from this challenge,” said Conner.