Fewer Than Half of Americans Know Alcohol Affects Cancer Risk
More Americans attribute stress and other unproven factors leading to cancer than recognize that alcohol, processed meat and other lifestyle habits have clear links to cancer risk, according to a new survey from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR).
2017 AICR Cancer Risk Awareness Survey
The 2017 AICR Cancer Risk Awareness Survey marks the 8th investigation into what Americans believe causes cancer to develop. Released to coincide with Cancer Prevention Month, the survey offers important insights and trends into what beliefs shape Americans’ health habits.
Fewer than half of Americans recognize that alcohol, processed meat, high amounts of red meat, low amounts of fruits and vegetables and not enough physical activity all have clear links to cancer development. And only one in two Americans know that obesity is a cause of cancer.
There is a clear crisis in cancer prevention awareness,” said Alice Bender, MS, RDN, AICR Head of Nutrition Programs.
It’s troubling that people don’t recognize alcohol and processed meats increase cancer risk.”
Alcohol: Strong Evidence, Low Awareness
The 2017 AICR survey found that:
- Fewer than four in ten Americans now realize alcohol affects cancer risk, even as the evidence with alcohol as a cause of cancer has grown.
The low awareness of the alcohol-cancer link is especially concerning given that it has dipped over the past 16 years, from 42 percent in 2001 to 39 percent today.
Research shows that alcohol is a carcinogen, a cause of at least six cancers, including colorectal, breast, liver and esophageal.
For further reading
Siegel, R. L., Miller, K. D. and Jemal, A. (2017), Cancer Statistics, 2017. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 67: 7–30. doi:10.3322/caac.21387
AICR/WRCF Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective, the Policy Report (2009) and the ongoing Continuous Update Project Reports.