Alcohol consumption was found to be associated with 62,100 or five per cent of newly diagnosed cancer cases last year in India, according to a study published in the LANCET Oncology journal on 13th July. Globally, the researchers found that more than 74,000 or four per cent of new cancer cases in 2020 may be attributed to alcohol drinking.
The study estimates that men accounted for 77 per cent of alcohol-associated cancer cases, compared with women, who accounted for 23 per cent of cases.
In this population-based study, researchers used the most recent International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) monograph on personal habits to select cancer types with sufficient evidence of a causal relationship with the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Country-specific estimates of incident cancer cases were extracted from the GLOBOCAN 2020 database for lip and oral cavity cancer, pharyngeal cancer, oesophageal cancer, colon cancer, rectal cancer, liver cancer, laryngeal cancer, breast cancer (female only), and all cancers combined, excluding non-melanoma skin cancer.
"Trends suggest that although there is a decrease in alcohol consumption per person in many European countries, alcohol use is on the rise in Asian countries such as China and India, and in sub-Saharan Africa", said Harriet Rumgay of the International Agency for Research on Cancer(IARC), France.
"In addition, there is a evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased rates of drinking in some countries",Rumgay said.
The researchers call for greator public awareness of the link between alcohol and cancers and increased government interventions to reduce its consumption in worst affected regions.
India had an estimated 5 per cent (62,100) of cancer cases linked to alcohol, while China had 6 per cent(282,300), Germany had 4 per cent(21,500), and France had 5 per cent(20,000 cases).
The UK had an estimated 4 per cent(16,800) cases linked to alcohol, with the US at 3 per cent(52,700) and Brazil at 4 per cent(20,500) alcohol-linked cancer cases.
The researchers noted that public health strategies, such as reduced alcohol availability, labelling alcohol products with a health warning,and marketing bans could reduce rates of alcohol-driven cancer.