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Alcohol and cancer: the urgent need for a new message

Jaklin A Eliott and Emma R Miller
Med J Aust 2014; 200 (2): 71-72. || doi: 10.5694/mja13.10426
Published online: 3 February 2014

New knowledge on old bottles: alcohol labelling and an unpalatable message

Alcohol is one of the most widely used drugs in Australia.1 In 1988, the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer declared it a Group 1 carcinogen — a fact of which few Australians are aware.2 In Australia annually, over 2000 cancer diagnoses and around 1400 cancer deaths are attributable to long-term alcohol use.2 Recent evidence indicates that any alcohol consumption increases the risk of developing cancer, including for the common cancers such as those of the bowel and breast, while smoking and alcohol together have synergistic effects that exceed the risk from either individually.2

  • Jaklin A Eliott1
  • Emma R Miller2

  • Discipline of General Practice, School of Population Health, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA.


Acknowledgements: 

We acknowledge the contribution of the Alcohol Causes Cancer! Project Team: Ian Olver (Chief Executive Officer, Cancer Council Australia), Robert Ali (Executive Officer, Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia), Annette Braunack-Mayer (Head of School of Population Health, University of Adelaide), Shona Crabb (Lecturer, University of Adelaide), Jennie Louise (Lecturer, University of Adelaide), and Genevieve Baratiny (Research Fellow, James Cook University).

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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