Alcohol and Cancer – Position Statement

Glasses of Alcohol


Key Messages

Alcohol use is a cause of cancer. Any level of alcohol consumption increases the risk of developing an alcohol-related cancer; the level of risk increases in line with the level of consumption.

Cancer Council Australia estimated that about 3,200 cases of cancer in Australia (or 2.8% of all cancers) in 2010 were attributable to alcohol consumption. There is strong evidence that alcohol use increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, stomach, bowel, liver and breast.

Together, smoking and alcohol have a synergistic effect on cancer risk, meaning the combined effects of use are significantly greater than the sum of individual risks.

Alcohol use may contribute to weight (fat) gain, and greater body fatness is a convincing cause of cancers of the oesophagus, pancreas, gallbladder, stomach, bowel, endometrium, ovary, kidney, liver, breast (in post-menopausal women) and prostate (advanced).

Cancer Council recommends that to reduce their risk of cancer, people limit their consumption of alcohol. For individuals who choose to drink alcohol, Cancer Council recommends that they drink only within the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines for alcohol consumption.


See the full position statement:
Alcohol and Cancer Position Statement