Researchers used alcohol exposure data from nearly every country. Data included surveys and sales figures. They were combined with the most recent relative risk estimates for cancer based on consumption level.
A 2013 study found that alcohol led to an estimated 18,200 to 21,300 U.S. cancer deaths. That accounted for 3.2% to 3.7% of all cancer deaths.
Dr. Kevin Shield, Independent Scientist, Institute for Mental Health Policy Research, was a co-author of the new study. He said that research on the link between light to moderate drinking and cancer is relatively new. He noted public policy doesn’t yet mirror the degree of cancer risk.
“As an epidemiologist, I would recommend higher taxes to fully reflect the burden of disease from alcohol,” he said in a press release. “Along with limiting the physical availability and marketing of alcohol, price controls are recognized as high-impact, cost-effective measures to reduce alcohol-related harm.”