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Awareness of the Link Between Alcohol, Cancer Is Low

Adjusted predicted probabilities of being aware of alcohol-cancer link higher for those believing alcohol increases heart disease risk

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Dec. 1, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Awareness of the link between alcohol and cancer is generally low, according to a study published online Dec. 1 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Andrew B. Seidenberg, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues analyzed data from the 2020 Health Information National Trends Survey 5 Cycle 4 to estimate awareness of the alcohol-cancer link by beverage type.

The researchers found that awareness of the alcohol-cancer link was highest for liquor followed by beer and wine (31.2, 24.9, and 20.3 percent, respectively). More U.S. adults believed that wine versus beer and liquor reduced cancer risk (10.3 percent versus 2.2 and 1.7 percent, respectively). More than 50 percent of U.S. adults reported not knowing how these beverages affected cancer risk. The adjusted predicted probabilities of being aware of the alcohol-cancer link were increased for U.S. adults believing alcoholic beverages increased heart disease risk (58.6, 52.4, and 59.4 percent for wine, beer, and liquor, respectively) compared with those who were unsure (6.0, 8.6, and 13.2 percent, respectively) or believed that alcoholic beverages reduced heart disease risk (16.2, 21.6, and 23.8 percent, respectively) or had no effect on heart disease risk (10.2, 12.0, and 16.9 percent, respectively).

“All types of alcoholic beverages, including wine, increase cancer risk,” a coauthor said in a statement. “This study’s findings underscore the need to develop interventions for educating the public about the cancer risks of alcohol use, particularly in the prevailing context of national dialogue about the purported heart health benefits of wine.”

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