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Think before you drink: 62k cancer cases in India linked to alcohol consumption

Study published in The Lancet Oncology journal reveals that alcohol consumption was linked to 62,100 or 5% of all newly diagnosed cancer cases in India in 2020.

Here’s another reason to think harder before pouring your next drink! A large-scale study published in The Lancet Oncology journal has revealed that alcohol consumption was linked to 62,100 or five per cent of all newly diagnosed cancer cases in India in 2020.  

Globally, 740,000 or four per cent of new cancer cases in 2020 were attributed to alcohol by the research team. Of this, men accounted for 77 per cent of the alcohol-associated cancer cases compared to women at 23 per cent.

WATCH MORE Trying to get pregnant, but no luck? Alcohol might be to blame 

Even relatively low levels of drinking contributed to DNA damage and caused hormonal imbalances in people. Alcohol even worsens the cancer-causing effects of other substances, such as tobacco, noted the team.  

Cancers of the oesophagus, liver and breast accounted for the largest number of cases. These cancers have well-established causal links to alcohol consumption, and the estimates of the direct associations with alcohol in the recent peer-reviewed study are the first of their kind for 2020.  

The study also demonstrates how alcohol consumption is decreasing in many European nations but is steadily rising in Asian countries like China and India, and in sub-Saharan Africa. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) also says that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a spike in drinking rates in some countries.  

While the study highlights the rise in alcohol-linked cancer rates, it also suggests that even small changes to public drinking behaviour may improve the situation. Suggestions included reduced alcohol availability, labelling alcohol products with a health warning, and marketing bans to reduce the rates of alcohol-driven cancer. 

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