This study found that awareness among the general public about the alcohol and cancer link was low and varied internationally.

There is a need to strengthen awareness among the public about the alcohol and cancer link as it can help in reducing risk and increasing support for alcohol control policies.


Jennifer K. Scheideler and William M.P. Klein (email:


Scheideler, J. and Klein, W., 2018. Awareness of the Link between Alcohol Consumption and Cancer across the World: A Review. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, 27(4), pp.429-437.

Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention
Release date

Awareness of the Link Between Alcohol Consumption and Cancer Across the World: A Review



Since 1988, the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified alcohol as a Group 1 carcinogen, the highest level of risk. Growing evidence suggests that alcohol increases the risk of several types of cancer including breast, bowel, prostate, and liver, and accounts for a significant proportion of preventable cancers. Despite ample evidence of this relationship, public awareness is less clear.


Following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, this study reviewed 32 studies examining lay awareness of alcohol as a risk factor for cancer in 16 countries.


The results show that awareness appears to be low and varies internationally; it is relatively higher in the United Kingdom, Morocco, and Australia. Methodologic differences in assessment obfuscate cross-country and cross-sample comparisons. In general, people are more likely to endorse alcohol as a risk factor when presented with a list of possible risk factors than when asked to list risk factors in an open-ended format.


Attempts to increase awareness have been limited and constitute a significant public health need. The authors provide potential strategies to increase awareness, such as alcohol bottle labeling and fostering patient/physician discussions regarding the link. 

Source Website: AACR