(NEW YORK) -- According to a new study, drinking alcohol is a major contributor to cancer mortality and costs drinkers years of their lives.
The study, which was published in the American Journal of Public Health, found that "alcohol consumption resulted in an estimated 18,200 to 21,300 cancer deaths, or 3.2 percent to 3.7 percent of all U.S. cancer deaths."
While some studies have shown that moderate drinking has cardiovascular benefits, the new report states that "there is no safe threshold for alcohol and cancer risk." The most frequent alcohol-attributable cancer deaths were from breast cancer in women, and mouth, throat and esophogeal cancer in men.
According to the American Cancer Society, it is unclear how exactly alcohol consumption might increase cancer risk. The study determined that minimizing or eliminating alcohol consumption is "an important and underemphasized cancer prevention strategy."
"If you do drink, limit your consumption," said Susan Gapstur, vice president of epidemiology at the Cancer Society. She also pointed out that smoking is much more significant in terms of increasing risk of cancer.
While approximately 20,000 cancer deaths each year can be attributed to alcohol, smoking is to blame for over 100,000 cancer deaths annually.
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