Can Alcohol Cause Cancer?

Can Alcohol Cause Cancer?

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, | By | NUTRITIONFACTS.ORG is a science-based nonprofit organization founded by Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM,

Cancer risk is something the alcohol industry won’t tell you about, but why doesn’t your doctor? There’s relatively little public awareness of the link between alcohol intake and cancer, and the medical community continues to largely remain silent.

Alcohol consumption has been associated with excessive mortality from cancer for more than a century. Even at low levels of intake, it can cause cancer–mostly head, neck, and gastrointestinal cancers in men and breast cancer in women. Given this and if there are only harms without any benefits, then the ideal alcohol intake on a routine, day-to-day basis should be zero.
But, doesn’t moderate drinking protect against cardiovascular disease? If so, isn’t some alcohol beneficial overall?

These are exactly the kinds of questions I address in this four-part series.

The Best Source of Resveratrol.

Is there any benefit to resveratrol? If so, should we get it from wine, grapes, peanuts, or supplements?

I really like this current multi-month batch of videos in that I cover so many different interesting topics without getting too bogged down in a deep dive on one issue. This series on alcohol is the longest I’ve produced in a while, and it’s one I’ve wanted to cover for a long time.

In case you missed the first video in the series, check out Can Alcohol Cause Cancer?. The third and final videos in the series are Is It Better to Drink a Little Alcohol than None at All? and Do Any Benefits of Alcohol Outweigh the Risks?.

Surprised about the French paradox? Learn more in What Explains the French Paradox?.

Can resveratrol supplements do more harm than good? Check out Resveratrol Impairs Exercise Benefits.

Is It Better to Drink a Little Alcohol Than None at All?

Even if alcohol causes cancer and there is no “French paradox,” what about the famous J-shaped curve, where excessive drinking is bad, but light drinkers appear to have lower mortality than abstainers?

Do Any Benefits of Alcohol Outweigh the Risks?

What would happen if you effectively randomized people at birth to drink more or less alcohol their whole lives? Would they get more or less heart disease?

Dr Michael Greger Notes:

Cancer is only our second highest killer. The top killer is heart disease, so what about the French paradox? Doesn’t moderate drinking protect against cardiovascular disease? In that case, isn’t some alcohol beneficial overall?

I previously explored breast cancer specifically in my videos Breast Cancer and Alcohol: How Much Is Safe? and Breast Cancer Risk: Red Wine vs. White Wine.

Additional videos discussing the connections between alcohol and cancer include Preventing Skin Cancer from the Inside Out and The Best Advice on Diet and Cancer.

Did you know Dr. now has an audio podcast? You can subscribe to it on your favorite “pod-catcher” or listen to it at

Get to know Dr. Erin
Dr. Erin Mayfield is dedicated to empowering you to take control of your health through personalized, practical advice. One of the key strategies she advocates is ensuring you stay hydrated with at least 60 ounces of healthy beverages each day, such as water, herbal teas, and natural juices, while avoiding drinks that can cause DNA damage in your cells, such as sugary sodas and alcohol. By making these mindful choices, you can significantly improve your overall well-being.
To learn more about how to optimize your health, call Dr. Erin Mayfield’s office today and schedule an appointment today and let’s work together to create a personalized plan that fits your lifestyle and goals. Remember, it’s never too late to take control of your health and reclaim your vitality!