Evaluating Correlates of Awareness of the Association between Drinking Too Much Alcohol and Cancer Risk in the United States
Awareness that alcohol consumption is associated with cancer is low in the United States, and predictors of awareness are not well understood.
Data from the 2017 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS 5 Cycle 1) were used to describe knowledge of the association between heavy alcohol use and cancer (“Yes,” aware of the association; “No”; or “Don’t know”) among 3,009 adults. Weighted multinomial multivariable logistic regression determined personal characteristics (e.g., demographic characteristics, health-related self-efficacy, cancer beliefs, and information seeking) associated with reporting “Yes” or “Don’t know” compared with “No.”
Thirty-eight percent of the U.S. population believed there was an association (38.36%), 36.17% were uncertain, and 25.47% believed there was no association. People believing that everything causes cancer and people who had ever looked up information about cancer had 1.61 and 1.80 higher odds of reporting “Yes” [95% confidence intervals (CI), 1.08–2.42 and 1.27–2.57, respectively]. Compared with people who were completely confident in their ability to take care of their health, people only somewhat confident had 2.32 higher odds of reporting “Don’t know” (95% CI, 1.30–4.14). Younger age was negatively associated with reporting “Don’t know.”
Awareness of the association between alcohol and cancer is low in the United States. Personal characteristics associated with awareness differed between reporting “Yes” and “Don’t know,” and there were few associations between demographic characteristics and awareness.
A significant knowledge gap exists in the population. Broad reaching public health media campaigns, particularly those that increase information seeking, are needed to increase awareness.