The Issue

According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, “alcohol consumption is one of the most important known risk factors for human cancer and potentially one of the most avoidable factors, but it is increasing worldwide.” Cancers caused by alcohol consumption include those of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, colorectum, liver, and female breast.

In fact, alcohol-related cancers claimed the lives of about 19,500 Americans in 2009 - or about 3.5% of all cancer deaths. Fifteen percent (15%) of all US breast cancer deaths were found to be alcohol-related.

This is why the United Nations has called for "multipronged preventive action including treaties and laws extending tobacco-style restrictions to alcohol and sweetened beverages" in order to stem the rising tide of cancer cases.

Despite this, there remains a relative lack of awareness - among the general public and even many health professionals - about the role of alcohol consumption in cancer.

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 Photo credit: macwagen via flickr.com