Alcohol

The more we use alcohol, the greater is our risk of getting cancer. Even moderate drinking increases this risk.

In Finland, alcohol is responsible for an estimated 1 200 cases of cancer a year. The cancers that alcohol causes have become more common. Alcohol is one of the most significant cancer risks associated with lifestyle.

All alcoholic beverages increase cancer risk. In terms of cancer, it does not matter whether you drink wine, beer, cider or spirits. What matters is the amount of alcohol you drink.

What types of cancer does alcohol cause?

Cancer can cause (at least)

    • cancer of the mouth, throat, larynx and oesophagus
    • cancer of the liver
    • colorectal cancer
    • breast cancer

People who regularly consume four units of alcohol on a daily basis are two to three times more likely to get cancer of the mouth, throat, larynx and oesophagus. A comparable amount of alcohol also carries a 1.5 times greater risk of breast cancer or cancer of the colon. The more alcohol a person consumes, the greater the risk of getting cancer.It is worth noting that even one unit of alcohol consumed daily increases the risk of breast cancer by about 10 %.Alcohol damages the cells of the liver. Abundant and prolonged alcohol use increases the risk of liver cirrhosis. And liver cirrhosis is the major risk factor for liver cancer. Some 10 – 20 % of liver cirrhosis patients develop liver cancer.