Drink Tank

Spoiler alert – alcohol causes cancer

Today for World Cancer Day we are shining a light on the very real and serious links between alcohol use and cancer.  

Although alcohol is a class one carcinogen, the public are largely in the dark about alcohol’s cancer-causing properties.  

study published last year in the BMC Public Health journal revealed that consuming a 750ml bottle of wine amounts to the same lifetime cancer risk of smoking five cigarettes for men, and ten cigarettes for women.  

While the links between cancer and tobacco have been widely and publicly accepted for decades, that of alcohol and cancer are much less understood, with FARE’s Annual Alcohol Poll 2019 reporting that although there’s recognition among Australians of the correlations between alcohol and liver cancer, the vast majority were unaware of its association with other cancers, such as mouth and throat (29 per cent) and breast cancer (16 per cent). Yet Australians overwhelmingly agree (76 per cent) that they have a right to know about alcohol-related harm.  

Last year the Australian Government released a draft of the revised Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol (the Guidelines), in which the first guideline acknowledges and addresses the need to communicate the link between alcohol consumption and a number of different cancers.  

To mark World Cancer Day, we take another look at a piece penned by Dr Jenny Goodare, Senior Policy Officer at the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education.   


Drink Tank aims to generate meaningful commentary and debate about alcohol policy, and to provide a platform for all members of the Australian community to share their views and concerns.

Our goal is for the Drink Tank community to engage in robust discussion about alcohol, highlighting a broad spectrum of views and voices, and ultimately to raise the profile of alcohol as an issue of national importance.

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