Well, I’m sure someone did, but I was way behind on this. If these scientists and their estimates are on target, then drinking is a far more serious and important factor in cancer rates than I was aware of.
I’m not the only one. As the article makes clear, a recent poll in the United Kingdom found that only one in ten respondents even knew that drinking caused cancer. That link has been accepted for many years.
Here’s a summary on their findings, from The Guardian. It includes a link in the text to the original study, if you’re interested in learning more:
From the Guardian piece: “an estimated 741,300 cases of cancer, globally, were caused by alcohol.” Not correlated with, actually caused. Types involved include cancers of the liver, breast, colon, esophagus, larynx, among others.
What does ‘strong’ evidence mean? It’s a grade given based on the quality of statistical analysis and the strength of the scientific controls. Here’s an overview, intended for journalists: Types of Scientific Evidence
Risk appears strongly skewed towards men. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, as males traditionally out-drink women, by a wide margin. Estimated impact on cancer rates: “an estimated 568,700 cancer cases in men and 172,600 cases in women in 2020.”
Whew. The gap may be narrowing, of course. The pandemic is the impetus. An article on the change in female drinking: Alcohol Consumption Rises Sharply During Pandemic Shutdown; Heavy Drinking by Women Rises 41%
Scotland has already begun taking steps to reduce alcohol consumption and by extension, to reap the rewards of lower health costs and frankly, fewer deaths. Wales and Northern Ireland are expected to follow. The researchers in this study offered several suggestions of their own, including a recommendation that alcoholic beverages should bear labels, tobacco- style, concerning cancer risk. They also mentioned levying higher taxes on alcohol, and further restricting marketing via the media.
Oh boy, I can imagine how that would go over in certain sectors of business and with the public in general. Americans have spent the last year drinking more than before, blaming that on the pandemic, the lockdowns, loneliness, etc. I figure some folks plan to continue,
Still, the research evidence is persuasive. It’ll be hard to dismiss it out of hand.
No doubt some will try. With social media, it doesn’t require more than a few to poison the well. Just look at what’s happened with vaccine hesitancy. Now we learn that one single entrepreneur has used the millions he made from hawking nutritional supplements and ‘alternative’ medical devices to make himself the largest contributor of misinformation on the subject on the Internet.
If you’re interested, here you go: The Most Influential Spreader of Coronavirus Misinformation Online
Last but not least: One innovation from the UK that I had not heard of: Minimum Unit Pricing. It’s complicated but believed to be effective in curtailing alcohol consumption. Here’s how it works: Minimum Alcohol Pricing (Revision Essay Plan)