Alcohol, smoking associated with 11 of the 15 cancers in the US, study finds


Researchers have established that alcohol and smoking are the two preventable risk factors that are closely associated with almost all cancers in the US.

Scientists at American Cancer Society published their findings in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine wherein they have said that these two preventable risk factors are associated with 11 of the 15 cancers in the country with cancer burden being 20 to 30 per cent higher in African-Americans than in all races and ethnicities combined.

To measure cancer burden, researchers from the American Cancer Society calculated the disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) lost to cancer. This measure combines mortality, incidence, survival, and quality of life into a single summary indicator.

DALYs lost to cancer were mostly related to premature death due to the disease (91 per cent), and only 9 per cent related to impaired quality of life because of cancer or its treatment, or other disease-related issues.

Lung cancer was by far the largest contributor of the loss of healthy years to all-cancer, accounting for 24 per cent of the burden (2.4 million DALYs).

Next was breast (10 per cent) followed by colorectal (9 per cent), pancreatic (6 per cent), prostate (5 per cent), leukemia (4 per cent), liver (4 per cent), brain (3 per cent), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (3 per cent) and ovarian (3 per cent).

The four most-burdensome cancers (lung, breast, colorectal, and pancreas) caused about half of all DALYs.