Reducing alcohol consumption at a population level could reduce the risk of a number of deadly cancers across Australia.
A new report by the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research (CAPR) and Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) says that reducing alcohol by one litre per capita has a significant preventive effect on liver, head and neck cancer deaths, particularly among men and older age groups.
While the longterm consumption of alcohol has previously been linked to cancer, no study has has examined its effects at a population level until now.
Researchers for the study found that a one litre decrease in annual alcohol consumption per capita was associated with reductions of 11.6 per cent in male and 7.3 per cent in female head and neck cancer mortality, and a 15 per cent reduction of male liver cancer mortality.
FARE Chief Executive, Michael Thorn said the study adds further weight to the correlation between alcohol and cancer.
“There is no doubt that alcohol-related cancers would be significantly reduced if more of the population reduced their alcohol consumption and followed the national drinking guidelines, yet a lack of recognition of the links between alcohol and cancer remains,” Mr Thorn said.
“The study exposes the need for improved public health education campaigns, better public health policies on alcohol, and more promotion of the guidelines – to reduce the toll of cancer-related diseases and deaths in Australia.”
The Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risk from Drinking Alcohol recommends drinking no more than two standard drinks on any day to reduce the of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury.