Alcohol is a recognised carcinogen – it is known to increase the risk of several different types of cancer.

This is based on assessments from the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Monograph Working Group, which is a group of expert scientists who review published studies and evaluate the evidence that alcohol increases the risk of cancer.10,29,70

Alcohol increases the risk of developing cancers of:

  • mouth, throat and voicebox
  • oesophagus (food pipe)
  • large bowel and rectum
  • breast (in women)
  • liver.

The risk of developing cancer increases with a higher use of alcohol.

In contrast, there is evidence that use of alcohol does not cause cancer of the kidney or non-Hodgkin lymphoma (a cancer of the lymph cells).