Skip to content

75,200 Cancer Cases in the U.S. Have Been Linked to Drinking Alcohol

It’s the first time researchers broke down the stats by state.
FACT CHECKED BY Cheyenne Buckingham
beer

It might be in your best interest to swap that white wine spritzer for a seltzer.

According to research published in an upcoming edition of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, a percentage of cancer occurrences and mortalities are directly linked to alcohol intake in adults living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. (Related: The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.)

While the types of cancer varied and the estimated number of cases differed across the country, the study authors from the American Cancer Society and University of Illinois at Chicago recommend health programs designed to educate the public about this connection.

It's no secret that drinking alcohol can increase the likelihood of being diagnosed with cancer. After collecting scientific information from around the globe, the American Institute for Cancer Research concluded that the consumption of wine, beer and spirits can raise the risk of six cancers (including colorectal, breast, esophageal, liver, stomach, and oral).

Yet, the latest study took figures from the U.S. Cancer Statistics database over a three-year period (2013 through 2016) in order to obtain a breakdown of patient cases and deaths among regions and states. (Don't miss the Ugly Side Effects of Drinking Alcohol Every Day, According to the Mayo Clinic).

On a national level, alcohol was responsible for approximately 75,200 cancer incidences (4.8%), along with 18,950 (3.2%) fatalities each year. More cases were recorded in New England and Western states (minus Utah) while the statistics were lower in Midwestern and Southern states.

Delaware ranked among the highest in occurrences (6.7%) and, along with Nevada, reported the highest number of deaths (4.5%). Utah was found to have the lowest percentage of cases (2.9%), as well as mortalities (1.9%).

Another big takeaway from this research was that men had higher rates of alcohol-related cancers and deaths, and the study authors believe this is partly due to their higher levels of alcohol consumption.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends drinking alcohol in moderation, which is defined by two drinks or less in a day for men and one drink or less in a day for women. The agency reports that two in three adults who consume alcoholic beverages will drink more than a moderate amount at least once a month.

The American Cancer Society agrees with these guidelines and adds that it's best to skip alcohol altogether. Their goal is to encourage states to prioritize cancer prevention campaigns.

"Healthcare providers and public health practitioners can educate the community to expand the currently limited awareness of the cancer-related risks of alcohol consumption," stated the study authors in a press release.

For more, don't miss One Alcoholic Drink a Day Can Lead To This Serious Condition and don't forget to sign up for our newsletter to get the latest restaurant news delivered straight to your inbox.

Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.
Amy Capetta
Amy Capetta has been writing articles on healthy living for more than two decades. Read more