Alcohol causing nearly 6000 Australian deaths every year

On average, one person dies every 90 minutes because of conditions caused by alcohol.

Alcohol taking a toll on Aussies

Today is the last day of FebFast, where many Australians give up alcohol for the month of February in support of disadvantaged young people aged 12-25.

YourLifeChoices publisher Kaye Fallick has taken up the challenge for the month and she is definitely looking forward to tomorrow.

New research, however, may give FebFasters pause to consider changing their drinking habits permanently.

According to statistics from the National Alcohol Indicators (NAI) project, conducted by the National Drug Research Institute (NDRI) at Curtin University, an estimated 5785 Australians aged 15 and over died from alcohol-attributable causes in 2015.

Cancer was responsible for 2106 (36 per cent) of those deaths while injuries, cardiovascular diseases and digestive diseases were the next leading cause (17 per cent, about 1000 deaths each).

Breast cancer (18 per cent) and liver disease (15 per cent) were the biggest killers among women. Among men, liver disease (18 per cent) and bowel (colorectal) cancer (10 per cent) were the most common conditions caused by alcohol.

“This research shows that in Australia, one person dies every 90 minutes on average, and someone ends up in our hospitals every three-and-a-half minutes, because of preventable conditions caused by alcohol,” said NDRI Alcohol Policy Team Leader Professor Tanya Chikritzhs.

“On top of the 2000 people who died from alcohol-attributable cancer, nearly 13,000 were hospitalised, and a large proportion of these cancers are related to low or moderate drinking levels. Risk begins from your first drink, and the more you drink the higher your risk.

“We understand much more now about the link between alcohol and cancer than we did five or 10 years ago, and that knowledge continues to grow.”

Terry Slevin, Education and Research Director at Cancer Council WA, said: “It is likely most people will be quite shocked to learn that more than one third of alcohol-related deaths are due to cancer.

“We rarely see people with a cancer diagnosis link their drinking to the disease. Personal stories, such as ‘my smoking caused my cancer’, are powerful in getting across the importance of changing our behaviour for health reasons.

“We have a long way to go to embed the notion that drinking alcohol genuinely increases risk of cancer and death.”

Have you changed your alcohol habits to embrace a healthier lifestyle? What benefits have you witnessed?



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    Old Geezer
    28th Feb 2018
    No booze or fags for me but I got cancer twice.
    28th Feb 2018
    There are lots of carcinogens besides tobacco and alcohol.
    4th Mar 2018
    I suspect lack of empathy and respect and/or egomania might contribute to cancer.
    28th Feb 2018
    And yet yesterday we had this..... (hopefully it all comes down to moderation).

    New research revealed in The 90+ Study has proven that moderate drinking (about two glasses of wine or beer a day) is linked to an 18% drop in a person's risk of early death.

    Amazingly, moderately drinking has an even stronger effect on living longer than the life-preserving practice of exercise according to researchers.

    This isn't the first study to link alcohol with a long life, but many of these come with caveats as most are detected patterns in a dataset, rather than cause and effect.
    28th Feb 2018
    The key word is "moderate".
    28th Feb 2018
    One minute alcohol is good for you the next it will kill you.I only have a couple and I know which study I'm going with. Cheers.;)
    28th Feb 2018
    Everything in moderation (except fags, which hould be totally avoided).
    28th Feb 2018
    Interesting. The much praised Mediterranean diet is surely accompanied by a regular intake of wine?

    Sorry, Old Geezer, to hear your story. I hope you are well now.
    Old Geezer
    28th Feb 2018
    Hopefully I'll die of old age before I get cancer again.
    28th Feb 2018
    It looks as though the medical establishment is beginning to treat alcohol as the new tobacco.
    Good thing that government is finally moving in the direction of legalising cannabis.
    28th Feb 2018
    I thought sugar was the new tobacco?
    28th Feb 2018
    Yes sugar is the new tobacco. Not satisfied with destroying metabolism through no fat diets there has to be a new boggy man.

    I'd like to know how many are dying from prescription drugs, over medication, hospital failures and super bugs.

    And it couldn't be anything else causing the rapid rise in cancers could it? Not our toxic environments or foods.
    28th Feb 2018
    This is all so confusing - yesterday we are told 2 glasses of wine per day is good for you - now wine can give you cancer!!
    Not big drinkers but like an odd glass every so often - where to now?
    4th Mar 2018
    Keep on with the odd glass when you feel like it, Troubadour. Alcohol is good in moderation, and anyway, who wants to live longer If life isn't enjoyable?

    28th Feb 2018
    One of these days I'm going to sit down and record all of the things that we do that cause premature death. Over the years we have been told that it's the sun, it's BBQ's, it's punching each other, it's tobacco, it's beer, it's spirits, it's red wine, it's fortified wine, it's all of the things that humans enjoy or are subject to without thinking.

    I'll tell you what really pisses me off, it's the amount of government grants handed out to all of these people who want to prove a theory and then publish a paper to confirm their theory. Sometimes these papers are peer reviewed but, more often, they are not reviewed at all but picked up by sites like this who use them to fill a gap.
    28th Feb 2018
    Preamble a lil bit 'iffy' OM, but the second para's nearer the money.
    A funny thing about research is that given subject matter, money and willing minds any amount of 'findings' will result and often published prior to extensive examination by professional/specialist peers.
    (I think I've just repeated much of your comment)

    If you're so inclined then a read of Tom Nichols book : the Death of Expertise - The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters will cast some light on this subject.
    28th Feb 2018
    Alcohol is listed as a Class 1 Carcinogen which if used excessively will cause all sorts of problems. Used in moderation it appears that it is ok if your system is tolerant. There is nothing like a Coldie at the right time. The trick is to keep it to just 1 or 2

    28th Feb 2018
    Thalidomide was safe according to these idiots. So was smoking according to the Marlborough man. Asbestos was great stuff and James Hardy products were the best.
    Do as your body tells you to do and you wont go far wrong.
    28th Feb 2018
    Just the other day after a couple of pills for morning sickness I was having a couple of fags while building a new shed with hardy plank when I took a turn for the worst. I had half a glass of brandy and it fixed me right up. Yeah just kidding each week there seems to be something else that might kill us. If I get much older a stiff breeze and a green apple will do it.
    28th Feb 2018
    maybe giving up Grog wont make you live longer.
    But it will certainly feel like big mobs longer :(
    I will take my chances
    28th Feb 2018
    Ha ha I know a few blokes who would get divorced without it. Without the grog and the shed they would be up for murder.
    28th Feb 2018
    Isn't it unreal, I'm way over 65 loved red wine all my life and have no health issues at all.
    I am of European decent where wine is part of your diet and lifestyle though so maybe that has something to do with it.
    I'm definitely not going to stop now and will happily pass away with a bottle of Whiskey!
    28th Feb 2018
    Good to hear Mate. I have just read that Red Wine kills unwanted mouth bacteria, that it can help reduce dental decay. Love the Mediterrean diet, red wine, olive oil, beans and Tomatoes. Its when that glass of Red a night becomes a bottle a night is the concern I think.

    28th Feb 2018
    Booze is also contributing to the explosion in diabetes, and all the complications that arise from that.
    28th Feb 2018
    Yep, dead right - breathing, drinking, driving, smoking, eating, (sun) tanning, stressing, onanism and walking-talking-living-dolls (as opposed to the blow up variety - - - although) & not to mention that other ----ing will, it seems, contribute to an early demise.
    Well stuff it, ultimately it's either heaven or hades we're bound for; and, as we don't get much choice in the matter then to hell with the consequences: let's just live our lives as we see fit, be happy with our lot and sod the doomsayers.
    All those in favour say "cheers"!
    28th Feb 2018
    Ben: you give no figure for men dying of prostate cancer when as many men die of this as women of breast cancer. PLEASE EXPLAIN!
    3rd Mar 2018
    Most men die with prostate cancer not die of it. Breast cancer does kill women but men can have prostate cancer but die of something else before it kills them. Some men do die of prostate cancer but stage 4 prostate cancer is rare considered to stage 4 breast cancer. Men die of breast cancer too.
    28th Feb 2018
    Hmm I've grown a bit suspicious about the stats I read here.
    4th Mar 2018
    Stats always make me suspicious. A former chief of police told me that when the govt wanted an excuse to tighten drink driving laws, they asked him to ensure more accidents were noted as ''alcohol related''. How? Well, if there is alcohol in the car - say if the driver has just been to the bottle shop to stock up for a party - the accident can be said to be ''alcohol related''. Never mind that the grog was safely locked in the boot and the driver was stone-cold sober! Similarly, if the passenger has had a few - even if the passenger was sound asleep on the back seat. He said they were forever getting instructions on how to ''fudge'' the reports so the stats supported whatever new policy the government wanted to implement.

    4th Mar 2018
    I've known some heavy drinkers who were chain smokers and lived into their 90s in good health, and I've known some who never drank or smoked who either dropped dead in their late 60s or lived in misery for years before dying in their mid-70s. A doctor told my uncle to take up smoking again because his withdrawal symptoms were killing him. We are all going to die of something. Every week something else is bad for you. If you avoided everything that's reported to be a health risk, you would die of starvation.

    I'll stick with a diet comprised of lots of vegies and fish, chicken, and occasional red meat, and a few glasses of wine when I feel inclined - oh and chocolate! If that kills me, I'll die happy.
    4th Mar 2018
    Everyone I know personally who has had cancer also had a lot of stress in their lives, I mean serious debilitating stress. Stress must weaken the immune system or contribute to getting Cancer. I have a few beers every day and it lightens my load especially when drinking with a mate. Ive been married for 46 yrs to non drinker who is still happy to get one for me if I ask with politeness

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