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Study: Quit alcohol, prevent 13,000 cancer cases in Finland

Quitting alcohol could prevent up to 13,000 Finnish cancer cases over 30 years, according to a study published in the European Journal of Cancer.

Olutpullo pöydällä.
Limiting alcohol intake is a means to prevent cancer, says a new study. Image: Tiina Jutila / Yle

If Finns gave up drinking, a dramatic decrease in esophageal cancer would occur, with a 23 percent drop in such cases over the next three decades, say Nordic researchers. Tee-totaling would also prevent some 5000 instances of breast cancer and 3200 cancers of the mouth and throat.

A researcher with the Finnish Cancer Registry echoes the Nordic study’s findings.

“Alcohol is the main factor contributing to a number of cancers. Around a quarter of throat and esophageal cancers are caused by alcohol,” says Eero Pukkala, the Cancer Registry’s research director.

According to Pukkala, around one hundred breast cancer cases a year in Finland are directly alcohol-related, which is why eliminating this risk factor could yield significant benefits. He says moderate drinkers stand to benefit too and can also significantly improve their health outcomes—and save the state a pretty penny—by putting the cork back in.

The full study, "Avoidable cancers in the Nordic countries—The impact of alcohol consumption" is available here.

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