### Number Watch Web Forum

This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.

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Re: drinking alcohol causes cancer

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21474525

Alcohol attributable burden of incidence of cancer in eight European countries based on results from prospective cohort study.

RESULTS:(Partial-GK) If we assume causality, among men and women, 10% (95% confidence interval 7 to 13%) and 3% (1 to 5%) of the incidence of total cancer was attributable to former and current alcohol consumption in the selected European countries.

1. They ' assume causality'; if you 'assume causality', you can prove almost anything.

2. Is 10% for men and 3% for women, of the incidence of total cancer, more than could be explained by chance alone?

Re: drinking alcohol causes cancer

Thanks for that Gary. It was as I feared: not very strong evidence. I guess the asumption of causation means that for the familiar equation:
error = random + bias + confounding effects
all sources of error are gone except random?
What a carry on.

Re: drinking alcohol causes cancer

Most things can cause cancer. The 2 principle reasons for cancer are : 1 physical damage to body, 2 failing bio-repair systems. Since most things can cause physical damage, then most things can cause cancer. Some more than others. Alcohol can cause physical damage, notably to the liver, so it can cause cancer.

I've seen private eye and this website try to mock this 'everything causes cancer' because the mass media spin the cancer meme for scaremongering. But its a simple truth, just like 'everything causes damage' if its shot at you at 200mph.

Re: drinking alcohol causes cancer

Yes, 200mph … rather makes the well known point that it’s the dosage, not the poison that kills you. I might enjoy a small glass of whiskey every day. My life, my pleasure. However if I was guzzling a bottle of the stuff every day then I might not be around for long.

Most well rounded sane adults already know that life is dangerous. But I will not live my life wrapped in cotton wool on the evidence of epidemiologists, who often portray very marginal correlations as cause, when in fact they are recording no more than statistical noise.