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Most Americans aren’t aware that alcohol, processed meats are linked to cancer, survey shows

February 8, 2017

Washington – True or false: Consuming alcohol and processed meats may increase your cancer risk.

If you answered “true,” you’re correct. But the results of a recent survey show that fewer than half of Americans know that strong evidence exists linking alcohol and processed meats such as hot dogs and bacon to the potentially deadly disease.

A survey from the American Institute for Cancer Research found that 39 percent of people surveyed understood the link between alcohol and cancer risk. That’s a decrease from 42 percent of participants in a survey conducted in 2001, researchers said.

According to AICR, hot dogs, bacon, and other processed or cured meats may increase one’s risk of developing colorectal and stomach cancers.

“This is a clear crisis in cancer prevention awareness,” AICR Head of Nutrition Programs Alice Bender said in a press release. “It’s troubling that people don’t recognize alcohol and processed meats increase cancer risk. This suggests the established factors that do affect cancer risk are getting muddled with headlines where the research is unclear or inconclusive.”

Other findings from the study:

  • 93 percent knew tobacco use may lead to cancer.
  • 50 percent understood the link between obesity and cancer.
  • 45 percent knew a diet lacking in fruits and vegetables increases their risk of developing cancer.
  • 35 percent of respondents were aware of the connection between red meats and cancer.

To learn about how to lower your cancer risk, go to aicr.org/can-prevent.