Alcohol Increases Risk of Skin Cancer

Drinking alcohol increases a person’s risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancer, according to a review published in British Journal of Dermatology.

Previously, the association between alcohol intake and non-melanoma skin cancer – which mainly comprises of basal cell carcinoma and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma – was inconclusive. Therefore, the objective of the recent review was to quantify the relationship between alcohol intake and non-melanoma skin cancer using meta-analysis.

A systematic review was performed on 13 case-control and cohort studies that looked at alcohol intake and risk of non-melanoma skin cancer. The studies included 91,942 basal cell carcinoma cases and 3,299 cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma cases.

The review found that for every 10-gram increase in ethanol intake per day, there was a positive association for both basal cell carcinoma and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. It concluded that drinking alcohol increases non-melanoma skin cancer risk in a dose-dependent manner.

The review proposed that the results could serve as an important public health target to reduce the global health burden of non-melanoma skin cancer, as alcohol drinking is a prevalent and modifiable behaviour.

Read more about skin cancer risk factors.



Rota, M. (September 2017.) Evidence for an association between alcohol intake and an increased risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer. British Journal of Dermatology. Volume 177, Issue 3. Pages 696–707.

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