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Alcohol consumption as a cause of cancer

Overview of attention for article published in Addiction, July 2016
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • One of the highest-scoring outputs from this source (#1 of 5,366)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (99th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (99th percentile)


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Readers on

229 Mendeley
1 CiteULike
Alcohol consumption as a cause of cancer
Published in
Addiction, July 2016
DOI 10.1111/add.13477
Pubmed ID

Jennie Connor


There is increasing research evidence about the causal role of alcohol in cancer, accompanied by unclear and conflicting messages in the media. This paper aimed to clarify the strength of the evidence for alcohol as a cause of cancer, and the meaning of cause in this context. Recent epidemiological and biological research on alcohol and cancer was reviewed and summarized, drawing upon published meta-analyses identified from the Medline database and the archives of the International Agency for Research on Cancer. More recent epidemiological studies not included in these publications were also reviewed. A brief description of the nature of causal inference in epidemiology was used to frame discussion of the strength of the evidence that alcohol causes cancer, and contrast this with the case for a protective association of alcohol with cardiovascular disease. The usual epidemiological understanding of a cause is a factor that increases the incidence of a condition in the population. In the context of a body of epidemiological evidence of an association of alcohol consumption with a disease, the inference that it is a causal association requires alternative explanations of the observed finding to be judged unlikely. Even without complete knowledge of biological mechanisms, the epidemiological evidence can support the judgement that alcohol causes cancer of the oropharynx, larynx, oesophagus, liver, colon, rectum and breast. The measured associations exhibit gradients of effect that are biologically plausible, and there is some evidence of reversibility of risk in laryngeal, pharyngeal and liver cancers when consumption ceases. The limitations of cohort studies mean that the true effects may be somewhat weaker or stronger than estimated currently, but are unlikely to be qualitatively different. The same, or similar, epidemiological studies also commonly report protection from cardiovascular disease associated with drinking but a high level of scepticism regarding these findings is now warranted. There is strong evidence that alcohol causes cancer at seven sites in the body and probably others. Current estimates suggest that alcohol-attributable cancers at these sites make up 5.8% of all cancer deaths world-wide. Confirmation of specific biological mechanisms by which alcohol increases the incidence of each type of cancer is not required to infer that alcohol is a cause.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 754 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 229 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Australia 1 <1%
Unknown 228 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Bachelor 41 18%
Student > Ph. D. Student 33 14%
Researcher 29 13%
Student > Master 29 13%
Other 17 7%
Other 47 21%
Unknown 33 14%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 49 21%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 31 14%
Psychology 24 10%
Nursing and Health Professions 23 10%
Social Sciences 12 5%
Other 47 21%
Unknown 43 19%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 1786. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 20 June 2021.
All research outputs
of 18,017,546 outputs
Outputs from Addiction
of 5,366 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 272,408 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Addiction
of 77 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 18,017,546 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 5,366 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 21.1. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 272,408 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 77 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.