1,200 new cancer cases in Kenya linked to alcohol consumption

Some 1,200 new cancer cases in Kenya including about 840 in men and 360 in women have been linked to alcohol consumption.

Kenya records about 47, 000 new cancer cases annually from all causes but a new global report shows alcohol may be responsible for about three percent.

The data, which links more than 740,000 new global cancer cases in 2020 to alcohol consumption, shows a significant increase in sub-Saharan Africa.

The study suggests that four percent of all newly diagnosed cancers in 2020 may be associated with drinking alcohol, with men accounting for more than three-quarters of those cases.

Risky and heavy drinking was estimated to contribute the highest number of cancer cases, but moderate drinking – the equivalent of around two daily drinks was estimated to lead to more than 103,000 cases in 2020, almost 1 in 7 of all alcohol-associated cases

The study published in The Lancet Oncology, on Tuesday had established levels of alcohol intake per person per country for 2010 and the number of new cancer in 2020 (10 years as the estimated period to developing cancer).

The lowest number of new cancer cases associated with alcohol the report shows were in Northern Africa and Western Asia, and the highest in Eastern Asia and Central and Eastern Europe.

Alcohol consumption the report says while declining in Europe it is on the rise in Asian countries, such as China, India, and Vietnam, and in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa where Kenya is classified.

In eastern Africa, Uganda with 1,900, Tanzania with 1,700, and Kenya with 1,200 alcohol-related cancer cases in 2020 had a higher burden than most of the neighbouring countries.

For example, Somalia had 30 cases, Rwanda 350, Burundi 280, South Sudan 200, and Ethiopia with its bigger population had 1,100 cases.

In all these countries alcohol consumption and the number of associated cancer cases were several times higher in men compared to women.

Alcohol-related cancers in Kenya may spike significantly in the coming years as most imbibers change from low alcohol content beers to spirits and unregulated drinks.

The global report published on July 13, 2021, calls for awareness creation on cancer risks associated with alcohol use and the need to decrease overall alcohol consumption.

The consumption of alcoholic is causally linked to cancers of the upper air and digestive tract (oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, and esophagus) and cancers of the colon, rectum, liver, and female breast.

The study is available here: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanonc/article/PIIS1470-2045

About Gatonye Gathura 142 Articles
Science Journalist

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