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Alcohol and Cancer

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

From a recent article (1) comes the following statistics:

Nearly half of the world's population (46%) consumes alcohol (Men - 54%; Women 38%)

Globally, On average, each drinker consumes about six liters (1.59 gallons) of pure ethanol per year (or about 1 wine bottle per week).

In France, people consume about 12 liters (3.17 gallons) per year or two wine bottles per week.


In America (2021) the national annual per capita consumption level of 2.51 gallons of ethanol equates to a person aged 14 or older consuming approximately an average of 535.5 standard drinks in a year (2).


Heavy drinking — defined by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as more than 60 g/day or about six daily drinks — accounts for 47% of alcohol-attributable cancers.

Risky drinking — between 20 and 60 g/day (2-6 drinks per day) — accounts for 29%, she explained.

Moderate drinking — less than 20 g/day or less than two daily drinks — accounts for roughly 14% of cases of alcohol-attributable cancers.

The CDC reports the follwoing:

"Drinking alcohol raises your risk of getting several kinds of cancer—

  • Mouth and throat.

  • Voice box (larynx).

  • Esophagus.

  • Colon and rectum.

  • Liver.

  • Breast (in women).

Some studies show that drinking three or more alcoholic drinks per day increases the risk of stomach and pancreatic cancers. There is also evidence that drinking alcohol increases the risk for prostate cancer. All alcoholic drinks, including red and white wine, beer, and liquor, are linked with cancer. The more you drink, the higher your cancer risk" (3)

(1) “The Sobering Facts about Alcohol and Cancer.” n.d. Medscape. Accessed October 26, 2023.

(2) “Surveillance Report #120 | National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).” n.d. Accessed October 25, 2023.

(3) “Alcohol and Cancer | CDC.” 2023. March 20, 2023.

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