Alcohol & Cancer in Wisconsin. There's a Connection.

It’s no secret that drinking alcohol can affect your health. But did you know it can increase your risk for cancer? At least seven different types of cancer are connected to drinking:

  • Breast
  • Colorectal
  • Esophagus (Squamous cell carcinoma)
  • Liver
  • Mouth
  • Throat
  • Voice box (Larynx cancer)

Cancers linked to drinking are common in our state. Why? Because Wisconsin leads the nation in heavy drinking and binge drinking. With the culture of excessive drinking in Wisconsin, it’s important to know about the connection between alcohol and cancer.

Together, we can change our views on alcohol and reduce the cancer burden in Wisconsin.


Only 30% of Americans know alcohol use can cause cancer.


Alcohol type does not matter when it comes to cancer risk.


The more you drink and the earlier you start, the greater your cancer risk.


Alcohol use contributes to about 3.5% of all cancer deaths and 15% of breast cancer deaths in the US.


How to Talk About Alcohol and Cancer.

Reducing the burden of cancer in Wisconsin is our common goal. That’s why we’ve partnered with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services Small Talks effort.

The Small Talks effort knows that small talks about the dangers of underage drinking make a big difference. Starting as early as age 8, short, casual conversations can help kids make smarter choices. Together, we can help give kids confidence to grow up alcohol-free and reduce their cancer risk.

Let’s reduce the burden of cancer in Wisconsin by preventing underage drinking.

How Wisconsin Reduces the Impact of Alcohol

Reducing cancer in Wisconsin starts with collaboration. By aligning our goals state-wide, combining best practices, and making concrete action steps, we can reduce the burden of cancer in your community.


Educate your community about the alcohol and cancer risk

Find information about the connection between alcohol and cancer. Find answers like:

  • How exactly does alcohol cause cancer?
  • How much alcohol increases your cancer risk?
  • Does it matter the type of alcohol you drink?

Prevent underage drinking and reduce its impact on communities

The Wisconsin Alcohol Policy Project (hosted by the University of Wisconsin Law School) helps identify local alcohol-related issues and ways to create change. Together, we can:

  • Make alcohol less available, attractive, and acceptable.
  • Create environments that discourage excessive drinking.

Provide actionable tools for Wisconsinites to discuss risks

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services provides tools for parents, caregivers, and community partners to talk with kids about the risks of underage drinking:

  • Get the facts about underage drinking.
  • Tips for talking to your kids about underage drinking.
  • Answers to kids’ tough questions about cancer.


Making the Connection: Partner Toolkit

Use these helpful resources to start conversations about the connection between alcohol and cancer. The Partner Toolkit has everything organizations need to raise awareness of alcohol-cancer connection in communities. The Partner Toolkit includes:

  • "Making the Connection Flyer"
  • Media Talking Points
    for Partners
  • Social Media Toolkit
  • Press Release Template
  • Newsletter Announcement Template
  • Live Read Scripts

Resources created in collaboration with the WI DHS Small Talks Campaign.

Alcohol & Cancer Infographic

This simple yet powerful infographic helps introduce audiences to the basic facts about alcohol and cancer in Wisconsin. Perfect for sharing online, or print it and post in your office, school, or clinic.

Available in English and in Spanish.

Small Talks Resources

Download and share valuable resources on how to engage kids in small talks about alcohol. Casual conversations about underage drinking are the best way to prevent it. Learn facts, talking tips, and how to take action.

Resources created in collaboration with the WI DHS Small Talks Campaign.

Alcohol & Cancer FAQs

Use these helpful resources to start conversations about the connection between alcohol and cancer. Get answers to important questions with our FAQs or learn real facts and ways to decrease alcohol-related cancers in Wisconsin with our infographic.

COVID-19 and Alcohol: Wisconsin's Changing Landscape

Presentation slides from Julia Sherman, Project Coordinator of the Wisconsin Alcohol Policy Project. Learn how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected alcohol consumption and related laws and policies in Wisconsin. Originally presented as part of a Wisconsin Cancer Collaborative webinar, "COVID-19 and Cancer Risk Reduction", July 9, 2020.

Alcohol & Cancer Slide Bank

Use this bank of PowerPoint slides to raise awareness about the alcohol-cancer connection when presenting to key stakeholders in your community. The slides and accompanying talking points can be downloaded and customized to fit your needs.

ASCO Policy Statement on Alcohol and Cancer

The groundbreaking statement from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) shone a national spotlight on the connection between alcohol and cancer. Lead author Noelle LoConte, MD, is a clinical oncologist at the UW Carbone Cancer Center and Principal Investigator for the Wisconsin Cancer Collaborative. (External resource)

Moving Forward: Policies and Strategies to Prevent and Reduce Excessive Alcohol Use in Wisconsin

This report is designed to help the user find how they can be impactful regarding Wisconsin’s alcohol environment in order to create a safe and healthier Wisconsin for all. The intent is the recommendations provided in this report will be used in your community, with coalitions looking to reduce harm of excessive use of alcohol; with healthcare systems, and providers; with municipalities, counties, and state government officials; and with decision makers and lawmakers of all types and levels of government so they all can make informed decisions to create safer and healthier communities.



Wisconsin Alcohol Policy Project

We’ve partnered with the Wisconsin Alcohol Policy Project to make an impact on a local level. The Wisconsin Alcohol Policy Project provides resources and training to help identify alcohol issues in the community. Learn more about the impact of alcohol consumption and the policies that can help.


Small Talks Campaign, Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Underage drinking is a real problem in Wisconsin, and it starts earlier and can be more dangerous than you might think. We're helping parents, loved ones, and other caring adults learn how small, casual conversations with kids, starting around age 8, can help prevent underage drinking.

Get Involved

We can help you raise awareness about the alcohol-cancer connection and decrease alcohol-related cancers in your community. Contact our Outreach Team to learn how.