2:06 PM PDT, August 3, 2021
The study published by Lancet Oncology last month found that over 4% of all new cancer cases in 2020 were caused by alcohol consumption.
Most cancers were linked to people who have more than two alcoholic drinks a day, while more than 100,000 cases worldwide were in people who averaged less than that, the study said.
“Alcohol is an irritant. It irritates the lining of our mouth, of our throat, of our stomach. As our body tries to heal, sometimes it heals in abnormal ways that can lead to the very beginnings of cancer,” said Dr. David Odell, an oncologist at Northwestern Medicine told CBS News.
The study found that 75% of alcohol-related cancers were diagnosed in men and many of the cases were liver and esophageal cancers. Breast cancer was most common among women.
There’s an estimated decade-long lag between drinking and being diagnosed with alcohol-related cancer, so doctors say the pandemic’s impact is unclear, CBS News reported.
Alcohol consumption spiked in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic, leading many Americans to reach for a bottle of some kind, according to a study published by US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
In the study, almost two-thirds of those surveyed said their drinking habits increased during the pandemic.